Monday, January 20, 2020 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Join Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), in collaboration with Kingdom Builders Network (KBN), on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2020 for a day of celebration and service as we remember those in prison whom are often forgotten and discarded from communities. Thank you to The City School (Poplar Campus) for hosting this event!

We will hear from a panel of returning citizens and professionals working with returning citizens as they share their stories discussing the impact of mass incarceration on the individual and the community. Together, we'll explore the role of the church in reaching out to returning citizens and walking alongside them as they are reconciled with their community. 

We will also assemble donated basic hygiene items into care kits for those currently in prison as a way to meet their needs and restore hope and dignity in a place that often seems hopeless. This year, we'll be assembling men's AND women's prisoner care kits! Please bring along kit items or donate money before the event so that we can purchase supplies for both of these kits. Our goal for this event is to pack 400 men's kits and 400 women's kits. For a full list of men's and women's kit contents, keep reading!

Monetary donations for kits can be made here! Please be sure to indicate "East Coast Prisoner Care Kits" in the comments section. 

At the event, we'll also enjoy spoken word poetry performed by Cornelius Daye and interpretive dance by Tyeshia Williams. Art pieces will be on display and for sale by local Philadelphia artists Suave Gonzalez (a formerly incarcerated person) and Yvonne Newkirk. We also look forward to collaborating on the creation of a mural facilitated by local artist Lauren Vargas. (Visit Lauren's blog here!)

Light refreshments will be provided with thanks to our event sponsors, Clemens Food Group and Herr's Potato Chips.

There will be no supervised children's activities. We think this event is ideal for parents with children ages 5 and up.

Registration information coming soon! 

Every prisoner care kit contains:

  • 1 bottle of lotion (maximum 3 oz.)
  • 1 bar of soap (minimum 4 oz.)
  • 1 tube of toothpaste (minimum 6 oz.)

​Gender-specific kit items include:

  • 1 pair of white underwear*
    • Men's kit: Please purchase men's briefs.
    • Women's kit: Please purchase women's basic briefs.
  • 1 white crewneck undershirt*
    • Men's kit: Please purchase men's undershirts.
    • Women's kit: Please purchase women's undershirts, although men's style is also acceptable.
  • 1 pair of white crew socks*
    • Men's kit: Please purchase men's crew socks.
    • Women's kit: Please purchase women's crew socks.
  • 1 deodorant (minimum 2.25 oz.)
    • Men's kit: Please purchase men's or gender-neutral deodorant.
    • Women's kit: Please purchase women's or gender-neutral deodorant.
  • 1 package of sanitary pads (minimum count of 8 thin pads) - for women's kit only

*Note: Clothing items are accepted in three sizes:

  • Men's kit: medium, large and extra-large
  • Women's kit: small, medium and large 

Please choose one of these sizes and purchase underwear, socks and undershirts in the same size and gender.

Please pack prisoner care kit items in a 2-gallon resealable plastic storage bag and use a permanent marker to indicate the gender and clothing size on the outside of the bag.

Mass incarceration is a term that describes the substantial increase in the number of incarcerated people in the United States' prisons over the past forty years.1

The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other nation in the world. The increase in the jail and prison population from less than 200,000 in 1972 to 2.2 million today has led to unprecedented prison overcrowding and put tremendous strain on state budgets. The United States has 5% of the world’s population but nearly 25% of its prisoners.2


1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_incarceration
2https://eji.org/mass-incarceration