The Feed

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

'I am Redeemed...'

'I am Redeemed...'

“I am redeemed. You set me free, so I'll shake off theses heavy chains and wipe away every stain. Now I'm not who I used to be…I am redeemed” – Big Daddy Weave

The women of the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee are continuing their yearly tradition of packing life-saving MannaPack meals for children around the world.

The MobilePack™ consists of three shifts during one day and embodies FMSC’s mission by feeding those hungry in spirit and body.

This year, 182 women packed close to 40,000 meals.

Many of the women have never had opportunity to give back to the community. They fund part the event by donating their wages, which may be as low as $.25 an hour.

One event team leader shared the following:

While we were at the facility, I had the privilege to talk to several ladies and heard some incredible stories. One of those women is named Linda.

She has 140 days left before she transfers to treatment and more importantly, 190 days before she is reunited with her son Aidan. It was incredible to see the way she came alive when she talked about him. She told me that Aidan would put himself to bed at night when she was passed out and wake himself up in the morning to get ready for school.

To hear Linda’s determination to finish the program and to celebrate five months of sobriety with her was incredible. She is determined not to let herself end up in prison again.

While we were talking, she said, “It’s going to be different this time. I have Aidan…to think about. I want to be there for him, and I’m taking classes, getting my G.E.D. and learning how to change the way I think about myself and my life.”

She said she never thought going to prison could make her a better person, but she has been surprised to find herself doing the things she was never motivated enough to do.

The facility’s focus on rehabilitation has deeply impressed me. Women like Linda, who used to spend their time negatively affecting the world and hurting themselves and their families are being given the opportunity to use their talents in productive and rewarding ways.

At the end of the first shift, the event host gave the women an opportunity to stand up and thank one another for their work by shaking each other’s hands (any physical touch is normally not allowed). He then had three women come up who were instrumental in seeing the event happen.

From another event team leader:

It was neat to see the support and enthusiasm from the rest of the ladies after they heard from the three inmates who had a big part in making the event happen, as well as seeing how enthusiastic they were to pack meals together.

When one of the ladies spoke about how this event was important to her, she said she knew people might judge her, but today she was able to do something to help others. It was definitely rewarding for myself to have a part in giving them that opportunity.

To pass the time, some women came up to sing while waiting for the volunteers to arrive for the last shift. Each of the women that got up to sing sang a worship or gospel song.

One of the ladies sang Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave and many of the women joined in during the chorus:

“I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed”

Editor’s Note: staff accounts have been lightly edited for clarity and some names have been changed to protect privacy.

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