Mass. church ministry ‘Love in a backpack’ helping women released from prison | 12/10/2019 | Staff
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A ministry led by a Massachusetts congregation has been helping former female inmates begin a new chapter of their lives by providing them with backpacks full of supplies upon their release.

St - John - Episcopal - Church - Ashfield

St. John's Episcopal Church of Ashfield has been overseeing a ministry known as “Love in a Backpack” for the past three years with the goal of ensuring that women recently released from prison receive basic necessities.

Each backpack has three bags of items: one bag is filled with personal care and toiletries, a second bag contains food and water, and a third bag includes a Bible and a personal note of encouragement.

Mary - Link - Ministry - Christian - Post

Mary Link, who helps to lead the ministry, told The Christian Post on Monday that the project has “deepened and grown over the years.”

“We have experienced the joy of doing God's work through our hands, serving the women most in need during a fragile and scary transition time,” Link said. “Several other churches and groups have partnered with us each year, helping us increase the number of backpacks we can pull together to provide for the women. Some partners just collect packs or toiletries, others fill three or more whole packs.”

Link - Year - Backpacks - Year - Year

Link noted that in the first year they gave out 32 backpacks. In 2018 and again this year they provided more than 40. Next year, they are planning to increase the distribution to 80.

“We are continuing this outreach to gain more partners and donors so that enough packs can be provided to meet the needs of the more than 80 women who are released each year,” she explained.

Love - Backpack - Response - Church - Research

Love in a Backpack came in response to the church finding out through research that oftentimes former inmates lack basic items when transitioning, including food and cleaning supplies.

The church applied for and received a $10,000 grant...
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