Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. —Hebrews 13:3 (NIV)
The Book of Hebrews in the New Testament calls us to remember the prisoner as though we were in prison with them. At Koinonia, we try to live out this mandate. These days we make regular visits to Stewart Detention Center, provide and deliver backpacks containing a change of clothes for those being deported and conduct an active ministry of correspondence with prisoners from across the United States.
Stewart Detention houses undocumented workers. Koinonia members and interns visit usually once a month. We have an opportunity when we go to meet one on one with a detainee. Many are trucked in from long distances and have no family or friends nearby. They tell us of their loneliness and boredom as well as the poor conditions of this for profit prison.
Our visits led to another opportunity to serve. One man, who was in his 40s, wrote to us in perfect English, that he was being sent back to the country of his birth. He had been in the United States since he was 5-years-old, but he was not a citizen. Caught up in the criminal justice system on a non-violent offense, he was going to be sent back to Central America where he had no family, no friends, and he spoke no Spanish. He would board a plane in his prison jumpsuit and receive a bag of clothing when the plane landed in his country of origin. Koinonia Farm now assembles backpacks and delivers them on a weekly basis. They are only allowed to contain one pair of pants, two shirts, two pairs of socks, two boxers, and a pair of shoes.
Koinonian Elizabeth Dede is our primary letter writer. Many of the men and women receiving letters have been corresponding with us for years. Some are serving life sentences and we are one of the few connections they have with the outside world.
We appreciate donations of backpack and clothes. Each assembled backpack costs approximately $50 so monetary donations are very much appreciated.
Needed items —
* Bags: any zip-able airline carry-on sized bags
* Shirts: medium and large
* Pants: waist size 30, 32, 34
* Shoes: size 8, 9, 10
* Undershirts: medium and large
* Underwear: waist size less than 36
* Cash to purchase any of the above
Please support this project with a donation.