In an environment that often seems hopeless, and the air is thick with ongoing animosity between inmates and correctional officers, prisoner care kits from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) are making a difference.
Ron Muse, prison chaplain and MCC East Coast staff member, shares Christ’s peace with current and former inmates in Philadelphia and distributes prisoner care kits from MCC. Muse reflects, “As we have started giving out prisoner care kits to indigent inmates, we have seen something happen that was not anticipated nor expected.”
Muse has noticed correctional officers requesting prisoner care kits on behalf of inmates, even those from marginalized inmate groups such as those with mental illnesses.
“It’s amazing to see the inmate’s face when the officer who he once despised gives him a kit...you can literally see the wall of animosity being torn down.”
- Ron Muse
“It’s amazing to see the inmate’s face when the officer who he once despised gives him a kit. It is almost like you can literally see the wall of animosity being torn down between the two groups,” comments Muse.
He continues, “The touch of compassion that you see in the correctional officers’ eyes and speech speaks volumes when requesting kits for the inmates. It is like you see God working and moving in people’s hearts without them even realizing what is going on.”
One inmate named Ollie* says, “I’ve been in and out of jail seven times… [H]opelessness resides on the inside. However, when Chaplain Ron gave me a kit, it put a smile on my face and brightened up my world. It put me in a better place. I want to thank everybody involved for this gift because it was the only thing that I received for my birthday.”
Prisoner care kits are making a difference in Philadelphia prisons. “This blessing has strengthened my thirst to see the ending of what God has for me,” says Jack*, an incarcerated individual who received a prisoner care kit from MCC.
Gifts of prisoner care kits help MCC share God’s love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by reminding current and former inmates that their needs are not forgotten.
*Last names not used for security reasons.
MCC’s prisoner care kits help meet the basic needs of current and former prisoners. Help us make a difference in Philadelphia prisons by collecting and packing prisoner care kit items that will restore hope, dignity and mental health to these individuals.
Each prisoner care kit contains:
- 1 pair of white underwear (briefs)*
- 1 bottle of lotion (maximum 3 oz.)
- 1 bar of soap (minimum 4 oz.)
- 1 tube of toothpaste (minimum 6 oz.)
- 1 deodorant (minimum 2.25 oz.)
- 1 pair of white crew socks*
- 1 white crewneck undershirt*
*Note: Clothing items are accepted in three sizes: men’s medium, large and extra-large. 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:
- 900 E. Howell Street, Philadelphia, PA 19149
- (215) 535-3624
- 4225 Molly Pitcher Highway South, Chambersburg, PA 17202
- (717) 375-2088
- 737 Hagey Center Drive, Souderton, PA 18964
- (267) 203-8074
For more information on prisoner care kits, or if you are interested in ordering prisoner care kit supplies in bulk, email EastCoastMRC@mcc.org or call (717) 733-2847.