Acts519 Ministries is growing steadily and incurring costs to sustain the ministry including office supplies, gas and transportation, administrative costs, internet services, supplies and costs associated with an inmates’s release. We are not currently incorporated nor are we a 501.c.3 charity. One of our goals for 2018/2019 is to become incorporated in Washington State as a not for profit corporation and eventually become a 501.c.3 IRS Exempt charity but that all takes money away from what we are currently doing. We need your help.
We strive to provide our mentees with a ride from the gate of their institution to where they will be staying in the community or to the bus station if they are leaving the area. We provide them with a starter gift of fresh personal hygiene products, a cell phone with one month of prepaid service, a fresh set of civilian clothes to wear home (shirt, trousers and a belt) and a duffel bag to carry it all in. We get the phones free but the first month of service is $35. A phone is critical for these returning citizens to find work and to stay in touch with their Community Custody Officer. The starter gift costs about $100 to $125 per released inmate. The starter gift does several things 1) it makes the returning citizen feel welcome back to his or her community, 2) gives the returning citizen one less thing to worry about in the first couple of days after release, 3) signals to the returning citizen that there is a community of believers ready to receive them, love them and care for them in their community and 4) validates the returning citizen’s sense of self worth. As often as not, we see tears well up when we hand a returning citizen their starter gift.
Mentoring starts while they are incarcerated through the Prison Fellowship Academy in their institution. If there is no Academy where they are incarcerated, then the mentoring has to start using the US mail or through the prison text messaging system, Jpay. Inmates can also use the telephone but we don’t provide a telephone number for them to call us until they are close to being released for a variety of reasons including cost (each call costs about $5). Our monthly budget for supporting communications currently exceeds $100.
Once an inmate is released our mentoring continues with personal visits, meetings, rides and general support. Costs to support these activities varies depending on the returning citizens needs but can easily exceed $150 during the first month or so if the returning citizen does not have family in the area.
Over the last several months I have had between 8 and 12 people in the mentoring program between those currently incarcerated and those in their first year in the community. That number is growing mostly by word of mouth. Some individuals have helped with costs from time to time but the ministry is growing and needs broader support.
Most of this ministry is supported by just me on a fixed retirement income. In order for the ministry to grow I need your help. Please consider a non tax deductible donation to help us meet our goals for 2018/2019.
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