The Feed

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

From Offenders to World Changers

From Offenders to World Changers

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” – Psalm 107:2

This year, we’re bringing you stories of the difference you make every single day. This story is part of our “Hope is greater because of you” series.

“I’m doing life without parole,” Kenneth said as he stuck a label on the back of a MannaPack™ bag. “Murder.”

He slid his hand across the next bag in the stack – another bag ready to be filled with lifesaving meals.

Kenneth, incarcerated in 1986, was one of about 160 inmates who signed up to pack meals at the Southeast Correctional Center (SECC) MobilePack event in Missouri.

SECC

They also raised $11,000 – a third of the event’s funds, with the rest provided by La Croix Church and two anonymous donors from Missouri.

This MobilePack is a collaboration between the La Croix Church prison ministry and SECC leadership. The church is on its 11th year hosting their own event that has packed more than 7 million meals since 2009.

SECC

“I am elated just knowing they’re able to share God’s Love, serve as HIS hands and feet and feel the kindness that comes from serving others in need,” John Wade, one of the MobilePack hosts from La Croix Church said.

SECC

Both the La Croix Church and SECC prison leadership subscribe to a restorative approach to the justice system.

“I believe we should give people a chance, Institutional Training Officer, Allen Hughes, said.

SECC

The prison runs a diverse variety of programming with this aim, from knitting hats for newborns to a Friday backpack program that ensures children in the community have food over the weekend. Inmates facilitate groups on site for restorative justice, the NAACP and veterans.

“They see through these programs that they can be a valuable part of society,” Hughes said.

And that was one of the objectives of hosting an FMSC MobilePack at the state-run prison where the men are serving time for everything from selling drugs to murder.

SECC

“This event shows them that they don’t have to remain a failure,” Hughes said. “It shows them they can be part of a team. That they can lead others. That they can be productive.”

For Kenneth, it’s rewarding to know he’s helping others, but it means even more for the 53-year-old to see what it can mean for the younger inmates.

SECC

“It gives them some hope that their life isn’t over,” he said. “It shows them people on the outside care about them to include us in something like this.”

One of those young inmates is Jonathon Leaks, who facilitates a group inside the prison that helps people discover what their natural temperament is and learn how to react better to situations – something he said they all wish they knew before becoming incarcerated.

SECC

Leaks volunteered at both packing sessions because it was good to give back.

“For most of us, this is what redemption looks like,” he said.

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For a group of men who live with the label “offender” stitched into their clothing, this event was a reminder that their identity can be so much more.

Hughes drove this point home when he announced to the men how many meals they packed along with prison staff and corrections volunteers: 163,296 – enough to feed close to 500 kids a daily meal for an entire year.

“What did I tell you you are?” he shouted.

The walls of the prison gym vibrated as nearly 100 inmates shouted back: “World changers!”

SECC

Because of You

You lead the charge here at home to make a difference across the globe.

You ignite a spark in others.

Without you regularly packing meals, without your lemonade stand, without your monthly giving, without your legacy giving, we wouldn’t be FMSC.

Hope is greater because of YOU.

This year, we’re bringing you stories of the difference you make every single day. We’re highlighting volunteers, donors, Hope Champions, FMSC staff and partners and so much more. And we would love to hear from you. Send your FMSC story to kkoranda@fmsc.org for a chance to be featured in this campaign. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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