“I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25:36
In partnership with Crossroads Community Center in North Philadelphia, MCC East Coast is welcoming donations of prisoner care kits to distribute to people in the greater Philadelphia area who are currently incarcerated or who are participating in re-entry ministries after leaving prison. MCC East Coast aims to collect a total of 1,000 prisoner care kits.
This initiative aims to:
- Share God’s love and compassion by reminding people that their needs are not forgotten and affirming their dignity and humanity
- Help meet the basic human needs of current and former prisoners
- Reduce incidents of violence in the detention center resulting from extortion and theft of much-needed hygiene supplies
- Raise awareness among MCC’s constituents about the racial disparities and other injustices present in the U.S. criminal justice system
MCC East Coast staff member Ron Muse, who shares Christ’s peace with inmates in Philadelphia as a prison chaplain, said that receiving a gift of basic hygiene supplies when he was incarcerated made him feel “loved in an unlovable place.”
Muse also works with Juan Marrero, executive director of Crossroads Community Center, in that organization’s re-entry ministry, which aims to empower people leaving prison and reduce recidivism by providing temporary housing and professional development opportunities. He is available to share with constituents through local speaking engagements about his ministry and the impact of prisoner care kits.
While this initiative is currently limited to Philadelphia, MCC East Coast staff hope this kit collection may serve as a pilot project for other communities who are interested in heeding Christ’s call to extend compassion to prisoners.
Staff also hope the kit collection will complement the MCC Washington Office’s advocacy work on mass incarceration by offering MCC’s supporters an additional opportunity to engage with this issue.
MCC supporters who are interested in learning more about the challenges and complexities of the U.S. criminal justice system are also invited participate in the Pipeline to Prison learning tour led by MCC staff and partners from September 20 – 26, 2015. Based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the tour will also include day trips to Philadelphia, Reading and Harrisburg. Participants will journey from local communities through the criminal justice system, learning about law enforcement, sentencing, incarceration and re-entry.
Kit contents (NEW items only, in original packaging)
*Clothing items are accepted in two sizes: men's x-large, men’s large and men’s medium. Please choose one of these sizes and purchase underwear, socks and undershirts in the same size.
Please pack prisoner care kit items in a 2-gallon resealable plastic storage bag and use a permanent marker to indicate the clothing size on the outside of the bag.
Completed kits can be dropped off at:
Please contact the MCC East Coast Material Resources Center at (717) 733-2847 or EastCoastMRC@mcc.org with questions about kit assembly or delivery.
For more information about how MCC is addressing mass incarceration in the U.S., please contact ChiChi Oguekwe, MCC East Coast Philadelphia program coordinator, at (215) 535-3624 or firstname.lastname@example.org.