As a child cries from hunger, desperate parents painfully search for food to save their children from death.
If caught stealing a chicken to feed their family, parents in developing countries such as Haiti will be imprisoned, without first appearing before a judge or receiving a prison sentence. Sometimes by the time they are tried, they have spent years longer in jail than their prison sentence requires.
Food For The Poor will help release approximately 73 nonviolent offenders in developing countries in time to spend Holy Week with their families. The prisoners were incarcerated due to their inability to pay the required fines. Since the inception of Food For The Poor’s Prison Life Program in 1998, Food For The Poor has assisted in freeing, training and reintroducing approximately 900 people into the community as productive citizens.
“Poverty and prison conditions in developing countries are drastically worse than those in the United States,” said Robin Mahfood, CEO and President of Food For The Poor. “When you visit a prison in one of these countries, your senses are assaulted by pungent smells and incredibly loud noises. A 16-by-16-foot cell could be crammed with more than 30 men. To the prisoners, you represent the outside world.
Desperate to be remembered, they extend their hands and arms through the narrow bars to you – their eyes beg silently for help.”
Before the nonviolent offenders are led outside the prison gate, they will be fed a warm meal, given a little money and renewed with hope. Prison authorities have found the Food For The Poor’s Prison Life Program to be so successful that they have implemented a similar program themselves. Some prisons now offer inmates jobs in the prison where they are held, so that they can earn money to pay off their fines.
Twice a year – the week of Christmas and during Easter’s Holy Week – the Food For The Poor Prison Life Program releases inmates who have committed minor offenses. The program is based on the scripture, “I was in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25:31–46).
Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency also provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training, and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.
For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.