At Housing Families First, we’re fortunate to have a loving and caring family of supporters who continually amaze us with their generosity and compassion. Our recent encounter with some remarkable individuals at Beaumont Correctional Facility has warmed our hearts, and we are excited to introduce you to the newest members of our HFF family.
It all started when John, who is incarcerated at Beaumont, reached out to us through his friend Mary. John had a heartfelt desire to make a positive difference in the lives of families at HFF. He wanted to organize a school supply drive for the kids in our shelter, and he was confident he could rally support from other men incarcerated at Beaumont Correctional Facility.
Over the past couple of months, we’ve had the privilege of working alongside John as he took the lead in coordinating this school supply drive. He created flyers, engaged with his fellow residents at the facility, and spoke to the staff, all with the goal of sharing his message about helping the children here at HFF. John’s motivation was obviously deep and personal, and when we asked him about it, his response touched our hearts: “Having grown up poor and experienced being hungry, not having a place to call home, and not feeling safe or protected, I can relate to those at the homeless shelter. This is part of the reason why I wanted to try and provide for their needs. Supporting such a cause will always be near and dear to my heart for I understand what they’re going through. No child should ever experience hunger, homelessness, or not feel safe and protected. I just want everyone in the shelter to know there’s brighter days. When given an opportunity, some of us incarcerated actually want to contribute to our society. Anytime we as a people can collectively come together and help homeless families, especially children, it’s a beautiful thing!”
And indeed, it is a VERY beautiful thing. These men, who earn between $0.45 and $0.80 an hour, raised $825 for school supplies for the children at HFF. The staff at Beaumont Correctional Facility went above and beyond, as well, generously contributing boxes upon boxes of brand-new school supplies.
Kristin Mullins, the Institutional Program Manager at Beaumont, personally delivered these supplies to our shelter, and you could tell by talking with her that she cares tremendously about the men in her program. One of the boxes contained new books from the chapel, and the chaplain even left us a note that read, “for Beaumont’s first annual book bag donation drive” for Housing Families First. We’re definitely holding them to that promise!
But the story doesn’t end there. Mary, John’s friend who connected us in the beginning, made a 6-hour round-trip drive to our shelter the day the supplies and check were delivered so that she could represent her friend John that day. Verlie, another individual incarcerated at Beaumont, shared the supply drive with his friend Chenoa. Chenoa was moved to action and handmade sling bags for the kids here at HFF. Their kindness and creativity added another layer of warmth to this incredible initiative.
What we’ve learned from this wonderful group is a powerful reminder that even in the most challenging circumstances, people can come together with a shared desire to contribute positively to our community. They can make a significant impact when given the chance to do so.
Our hearts are truly overflowing with gratitude for all these extraordinary individuals. John wanted to extend his gratitude to everyone who helped him in this journey, from the men incarcerated alongside him, to the staff at HFF, to the staff at Beaumont, and to his community friends who facilitated the connection with us. We echo his thanks and send our own sincere appreciation to all those involved, and most especially to John, who truly is making a positive difference in the world.
Welcome to our HFF Family, Beaumont Crew. We’re so glad you’re here!