Church collecting basic necessities for incarcerated people
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 12/16/2016, 8:13 p.m.
A Church Hill congregation is seeking to dramatically expand its efforts to provide care packages of toiletries and underwear to people who are incarcerated, it has been announced.
After more than 40 years of delivering such packages to the City Jail, Temple of Judah at 2120 Venable St. is working with other churches to begin delivering similar packages to thousands of inmates at state prisons and other jails, according to the pastor, Bishop Melvin Williams Jr.
The care packages include toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash and soap, he said. Where possible, the church also delivers new underwear for men and women.
“Everything we take for granted can be a necessity for others,” he said.
The other churches taking part include Ebenezer Baptist in Doswell, Greenwood Baptist in Glen Allen, Real Life Ministries in Chester and Tabernacle of Zion in Lawrenceville, said Crystal Thomas, church administrator.
“Our hope is that more churches will join this effort,” she said.
She said the plan this holiday season is to deliver at least 8,000 care packages to the Richmond Justice Center and such facilities as the Pamunkey Regional Jail and state correctional facilities such as Deep Meadow, Haynesville, Lawrenceville and Nottoway.
“We will continue to do this year-round as part of our prison ministry,” Ms. Thomas said, with a target of delivering at least 33,000 care packages a year as the program builds up.
The cost of providing care packages to 33,000 inmates would be about $38,000, Bishop Williams said.
Ms. Thomas said that the church may not raise that amount by the deadline, Monday, Dec. 19, but would meet the goal of 8,0000 packages with support from partner churches, area businesses and caring individuals.
For people considering a contribution, the church is accepting tax-deductible donations online at www.TempleofJudah.org or at the church’s office between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Donations also can be mailed to: Yuletide Drive, Temple of Judah Ministries, P.O. Box 8045, Richmond, Va. 23223.
Additional information: Church office, (804) 780-0841.