Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Chrocheting in prison

The Tablet, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn, has an interesting story about women in prison and how you can help:
Sharon, Tiana and Emily crocheted beautiful matching scarf and hat sets for people like Marcia and her daughter Samantha who wait outside C.H.I.P.S., a soup kitchen in Park Slope.

But the three women, who are imprisoned in the Metropolitan Detention Center, did not get to deliver the warm colorful scarves, hats and ponchos personally to Sister Mary Maloney, S.F.P., who runs C.H.I.P.S. (Park Slope Christian Help).

Instead, Father James McDevitt, chaplain at the MDC, along with Justin Andrews, an associate warden, delivered several large bags overflowing with crocheted items, which will be distributed to the poor and to pregnant women and women with infants housed in C.H.I.P.S.’ Frances Residency program.
. . .
But, as a rule, women inmates don’t get many visitors, Father McDevitt says. These women, who in many cases tried to keep things going for everyone else on the outside, often receive little support for themselves.

About 90% of the women inmates have suffered physical or sexual abuse at some time in their lives, he said. And yet, some continue “to try to manage their families from here,” Father McDevitt said.
. . .
One of the reasons Father McDevitt started the crocheting project was to help the women fill their time productively. For Valerie, the activity “takes off the stress” of long hours in the MDC’s East Building.

With donations of yarn from local parishes, about 28 women at the detention center have been crocheting warm scarves and hats for the homeless for about a year. Sixty other women are on a waiting list, waiting for more yarn and plastic crochet needles.
. . .
Donations of yarn in all colors can be sent to St. John the Evangelist Church, 250 21st St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215. Federal regulations require that the yarn be sent to a church and not directly to the prison.

You can read more here.