Dawn Green says her church’s Isaiah 58 ministry didn’t start as a program — it started one person at a time.
And the first person was an inmate at Tutwiler Prison for Women, someone who was about to be released.
“She had gotten saved in prison and was doing well,” said Green, a member of Santuck Baptist Church, Wetumpka. “She didn’t want to go back to her boyfriend’s house where her stuff was because it wouldn’t be safe for her.”
So she had nothing — no clothes, no toiletries, no money. And Traci Martin, a prison chaplain at Tutwiler, started trying to collect things for her to help her start her new life.
Carload of items
Martin “got on the phone and started calling around” looking for shoes and clothes in the woman’s size, and before long, she had a whole carload of necessities, Green said.
Green noted that much of the time when women are released from prison, they leave with little more than the clothes on their back. So Martin started collecting things for more women, and as people gave, she filled up a couple of rooms in her house. It wasn’t long before she needed more space. So the church offered a room.
“We started with one room and now have probably eight,” Green said.
The ministry has grown to help any woman in crisis — whether that be leaving prison, fleeing an abusive situation or recovering after a house fire. Green now directs the ministry, named from Isaiah 58, which talks about sharing what you have with those in need.
She and seven other volunteers pack suitcases for women preparing to leave prison and pray over them before they deliver them. They also allow women facing other crises to come and “shop” in the rooms at the church that are dedicated to the ministry.
“Every lady also gets a Bible and devotional materials,” Green said. “This is a tangible way for them to see God’s love. It’s been fun; it’s my heart.”
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