Prisoners say “Yes!”
March 13, 2018
Exciting news in the HFP Post Office Box on Monday! Yes, a $2,000 gift had been received from a W MI foundation. Yes, a $250 check had been received from a brand new donor. But the reason for the excitement: 2 donations from prisoners! A $30 check from one; a $20 check from another...checks from guys who don’t earn that much per month in their prison jobs. What an endorsement for the work of the HFP team!
For more about who we serve and why, see today’s HFP blog HERE.
Starting the week with Jimi Hendrix
March 12, 2018
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
― Jimi Hendrix
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Benton Harbor Pastor named to HFP Board
March 9, 2018
R. Chester Gulley, Pastor of New Covenant Community Baptist Church of Benton Harbor, has been appointed to serve
a three-term on the Board of Directors of Humanity for Prisoners. The announcement was made today by HFP President
Humanity for Prisoners is a faith-based 501c3 agency based in Grand Haven, founded by Tjapkes in 2001. It is the only
prisoner advocacy agency in the state that focuses solely on one-on-one assistance with state inmates, seeking to
provide practical assistance to meet real needs.
Gulley and Tjapkes have a long history of working together. Both were active members of the Citizens Committee for
the Release of Maurice Carter, organized in Benton Harbor in the year 2000. The committee fought for the release of
Carter, who claimed wrongful conviction in Berrien County, up until the day he was granted a compassionate parole
Pastor Gulley is also active in the Southwestern Michigan Ministerial Alliance, and the General Missionary Baptist State Congress of Michigan.
Starting the Week with Franklin D. Roosevelt
March 5, 2018
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
HFP Blog: Patience may be a virtue, but it’s a necessity behind bars! See the latest entry HERE
March 4, 2018
"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
February 28, 2018
Why a special Humanity for Prisoners gift from your tax returns is more important than ever!
HFP President Doug Tjapkes greets Anthony “Bear” Johnson, released yesterday morning after
serving more than 42 years!
Bear breaks down in tears: This was the first time in 42 years that I rode in a vehicle unshackled!
Bear breaks down in tears, explaining what led to his freedom: My family was unable to attend
my Public Hearing. Matt was there for me!
Read the details in today’s blog HERE
Even more: Local TV station WILX also was there and had a chance to talk with Bear and
Starting the week with Dianna Hardy
February 26, 2018
“...it only takes one voice, at the right pitch, to start an avalanche.”
February 25, 2018
"Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Starting the week with Barack Obama
February 19, 2018
"The United States is not the only country on earth with violent or dangerous people. We are not inherently more prone to violence. But we are the only advanced country on earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency."
HFP Blog: Whether prison stats, or school shooting stories...behind the numbers are actual names, real people. Read the latest entry HERE.
February 18, 2018
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Starting the Week with William Purkey
February 12, 2018
“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey
Starting the 1st full week of Black History Month
February 5, 2018
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." -- Barack Obama
February 4, 2018
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."
Starting the Week with L.R. Knost
January 29, 2018
"Do not be dismayed
by the brokenness
of the world.
All things break.
And all things
can be mended.
Not with time, as they say,
but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally,
The broken world
waits in darkness
for the light that is you."
January 28, 2018
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
2 Timothy 1:7
Your dinner is a donation!
January 24, 2018
Supporters of Humanity for Prisoners are invited to come to Downtown Grand Haven next Tuesday as Porto Bello Restaurant has designated HFP as the beneficiary of the restaurant's "Charity Night."
Porto Bello will donate 15% of all dinner sales to HFP. The restaurant is located in the historic Story & Clark Piano Factory building at 41 Washington Ave. Porto Bello's menu features a variety of Italian selections including pasta and pizza, as well as a full bar.
HFP would like to thank the owners and staff at Porto Bello for this wonderful opportunity. We look forward to seeing you for dinner next Tuesday!
Starting the Week with Bonnie Myotai Treace
January 22, 2018
“Rage — whether in reaction to social injustice, or to our leaders’ insanity, or to those who threaten or harm us — is a powerful energy that, with diligent practice, can be transformed into fierce compassion.”
― Bonnie Myotai Treace
January 21, 2018
“Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them.”
HPF Blog: Call HFP what you will, we were on the job last week! http://bit.ly/2DVVb4j
HFP's Out of the Office
January 18, 2018
Three members of the HFP team are going to prison today! Executive Director Matt Tjapkes will be in Jackson as the representative for a terminally ill inmate as he meets with the Parole Board. Meanwhile, volunteer Jennifer Juhasz and President Doug Tjapkes will be conducting a workshop in the Muskegon Correctional Facility on how to file a commutation application. Down in the trenches. Right where we belong!
Thanks for your prayers and your support!
HFP Blog: Little stories make big headlines at HFP! See the latest entry http://bit.ly/2DJ9EQY
Starting the Week with MLK
January 15, 2018
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
HFP Blog: Remaining silent about racism is not an option. See today’s entry - http://bit.ly/2rc49Ie
January 14, 2018
"Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness."
1 John 2:9
Putting our heads together
January 12, 2018
HFP President Doug Tjapkes and Michigan’s Legislative Corrections Ombudsman Keith Barber spent two
hours yesterday delving into the issues of sentencing reform, parole reform, bedside visits for terminally ill
inmates, medical care, mail policy, commutations, and others. It is hoped that increased collaboration
between these two agencies will result in improved services by both.
HFP Blog: HFP received a huge gift this week! $5.00! See today's entry http://bit.ly/2qZ5uld
Starting the Week with The Lorax
January 8, 2018
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not."
January 7, 2018
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Happy New Year from HFP!
January 1, 2018
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
HFP Blog: As we being 2018, we need more than dollars! http://bit.ly/2luVpaL
December 31, 2017
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Last day for tax-exempt contributions! Read today’s blog first! http://bit.ly/2CfYrtL
HFP Contact Total tops 5,000!
December 28, 2017
HFP staffers have responded to more than 5, 000 calls in 2017! The 5,000 mark was hit by mid-day yesterday, December 26, according to Executive Director Matt Tjapkes. The total far exceeds the 2,278 total of 2016. This breaks down to nearly 15 contacts a day, 7 days a week, by prisoners or their friends or family members.
In addition, HFP’s commutations team will have assisted some 150 Michigan inmates with commutation applications in 2017. Humanity for Prisoners does its best to assist state prisoners one-on-one with in-house issues when they have nowhere to turn.
Your year-end gift will keep us on a path of touching lives every day in the New Year! HFP's 2017 budget is $209,500, and through this morning we have collected $197,817. Help us hit budget for 2017 and ensure HFP is ready for another record-breaking year in 2018. Your donation to HFP is touching more lives than ever before!
Merry Christmas from HFP!
December 25, 2017
"Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values."
Thomas S. Monson
Christmas Eve Verse
December 24, 2017
For the Fourth Sunday of Advent:
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
HFP Blog: Doug has a special Christmas gift to share with you on this Christmas Eve - http://bit.ly/2BIydjk
It's a Match!
December 20, 2017
Today, Humanity for Prisoners is excited to announce we have reached our goal of $25,000 to be matched by an incredible HFP donor. Your generosity is humbling, we can't thank everyone enough for their kindness as we continue to serve inmates in Michigan at a record pace this year.
If you haven't gotten your year-end donation to us yet - WE STILL NEED HELP! As HFP closes out the year, we're looking reach our target budget for 2017 which will create a cash reserve equal to one month's operating expenses going into 2018. As of today, HFP needs $18,000 to reach this goal, and we're searching for a donor to start the match back up and cut that number in half.
Your generosity has touched the lives of more Michigan prisoners this year than ever before, and we thank you for that and for your continued support as we march on to 2018!
Starting the Week with Barack Obama
December 18, 2017
"The arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own."
December 17, 2017
On the third Sunday of Advent:
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times."
Starting the Week with Albert Einstein
December 11, 2017
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”
― Albert Einstein
December 10, 2017
For the second Sunday of Advent:
"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel"
HFP Blog: Doug’s thoughts following the beautiful Friday evening Advent service - http://bit.ly/2AJkGUW
Starting the Week with Bryan Stevenson
December 4, 2017
“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.”
― Bryan Stevenson
December 3, 2017
For first Sunday of Advent:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
New Items at Just Goods
December 1, 2017
Just in time for the cold winter months, Humanity for Prisoners has received a new batch of knit hats that are
now available for purchase at Just Goods Gifts and Cafe, located in the Momentum Center at 714 Columbus
in Grand Haven.
The hats, pictured above, are just some of the many hand-made items made by prisoners available at Just
Goods. Other items include paintings, drawings and leather crafts. In addition to prisoner-made items, Just
Goods sells traditional fair trade items, items hand-made by students in CBI (Community Based Instruction),
Aldea coffee, Leppink's donuts, Grand Finale' cookies and tea from Lucky Tea Cafe. Just Goods is open
Monday through Friday from 10 to 6, and Saturday from 10 to 2.
A Service of Lessons & Carols December 8
November 29, 2017
Humanity for Prisoners is excited to once again welcome the Grand Rapids Choir of Men & Boys on Friday, December 8, at 7:30pm for an Advent service of Lessons & Carols. The event will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church, 524 Washington Ave. In Grand Haven.
The Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys mission is to encourage and support the spiritual and musical education of children and to serve the worship and arts communities of West Michigan. Our time together will feature musical selections from the Advent and Christmas seasons, along with prayers and scripture readings.
St. John’s Episcopal Church has great passion for the ministry of Humanity for Prisoners and is looking forward to hosting this event and the reception that will follow.
For information on serving as a concert sponsor, please contact Humanity for Prisoners at firstname.lastname@example.org. Concert sponsors will be listed by name in an insert in the bulletin for the evening.
November 28, 2017
You can touch the life of a prisoner
Your donation today will be doubled! Generous donors, who are matching all December gifts up to $25,000 this year, have agreed to start early with Giving Tuesday!
HFP: Busier than ever
Staffers now responding to 100+ calls per week
Donate now online: Click HERE
Your $1 gift turns into $2!
Your $500 gift turns into $1,000!
Read more about our year-end matching funds drive HERE
Thanks to your partnership, we receive messages like this
...at this season of the year, I count my blessings for having you bring a most needed cheer to my heart and soul. Often your generosity causes my eyes to tear up as the pain in my soul becomes cleansed with your merciful acts and deeds. Thanks for giving love to those less fortunate in life!
Starting the Week with Charles Spurgeon
November 27, 2017
“The way to do a great deal is to keep on doing a little. The way to do nothing at all is to be continually resolving that you will do everything.”
November 26, 2017
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
I Chronicles 16:34
A warm Post-Thanksgiving Story
November 24, 2017
Wayne didn’t know where to turn. After serving 11 years in prison, he was finally paroled this week and sent to a half-way house in Benton Harbor. He arrived with nothing in his hands, only to realize that the new facility did not provide clothing. With no money, no family or friends, he remembered where he got help before, and called the HFP office. That was at 3:50 PM on Thanksgiving Eve.
Within the hour Pastor Rodney Gulley of New Covenant Community Baptist Church had enlisted the aid of his parishioners. Armed with necessary sizes for pants, shirts and shoes, they headed for re-sale stores. At 5:20 PM we received the call: Wayne was properly clothed!
These aren’t the stories that make the headlines, or bring in the major contributions for the major charities. But this is very typical of our stories…the kind that happen behind the scenes, below the radar, every day.
Wayne joined the entire HFP team on Thanksgiving Day giving thanks for your compassion demonstrated in your support.
November 22, 2017
Just in time for the holidays, Humanity for Prisoners introduces a selection of four Christmas cards, two of which have specific themes in Grand Haven. Prison Artist Duane Montney, better known as “DJ,” offered to use his gifts to help HFP raise urgently needed year-end funds. There’s a generic theme for two of the covers, but the others feature these Grand Haven icons - the Pere Marquette caboose at Chinook Pier and St. John’s Episcopal Church!
The cards are selling for $30 for a pack of 10, and can be orderedHERE..
Starting the Week with William Wordsworth
November 20, 2017
"The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."
November 19, 2017
"If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."
November 17, 2017
The Public Hearing is a HUGE deal for Michigan prisoners. Still, not many attend. Read the reason why HFP’s Executive Director would abandon our busy office for a day to speak on behalf of two friends: http://bit.ly/2mz62wg
Starting the Week with Nelson Mandela
November 13, 2017
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
November 12, 2017
"Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity."
Belated: A very Happy Birthday with to our President and Founder, Doug Tjapkes, who celebrated his 81st yesterday!
Starting the Week with Albert Einstein
November 6, 2017
"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters."
November 5, 2017
"A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need."
November 2, 2017
Sounds like HFP’s workshop was a hit yesterday, at least for our team! Doug's thoughts in today's blog: http://bit.ly/2z6rVFv
Starting the Week with Martin Luther
October 30, 2017
"You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say."
October 29, 2017
In observance of the Reformation:
“Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.”
Maurice Carter Day
October 25, 2017
Humanity for Prisoners has designated today, October 25, as MAURICE HENRY CARTER DAY. It was on this date, in 2004, that Maurice died in a Grand Rapids hospital. He was 60. HFP was founded in 2001 by Doug Tjapkes, with the encouragement of Carter. Maurice had lived only 3 months in freedom after serving 29 years for a crime he did not commit.
Why MHC Day?
TO FOCUS ON WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS. This is a serious problem. Last year alone, US courts reversed the convictions of 137 innocent people who were serving time behind bars! 22 of those had been freed due to DNA testing…the remainder due to the hard work of inmates, their families, their attorneys, and various Innocence Projects around the country. To date, there have been 330 exonerations thanks to DNA tests alone.
TO FOCUS ON THE REASONS FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS. In Maurice Carter’s situation, factors included a jail-house snitch, faulty eye-witness testimony, prosecutorial misconduct, tunnel-vision police work, and racism. These are still key problems today.
TO FOCUS ON MISTREATMENT OF PRISONERS. Maurice Carter died of complications due to Hepatitis C, which could have been treated. He was diagnosed by prison doctors in 1994 who didn’t bother to tell him until he collapsed in his cell in 2003. By then it was Hep C/End Stage! He was an eligible lifer, but because key decision makers were from the county in which he was convicted, parole was never considered. He qualified for a compassionate release after the disease was discovered and he might have been able to receive a liver transplant. But the Governor waited a year to make her decision. Then it was too late.
Obviously this is not an official event, but on MAURICE HENRY CARTER DAY we remember our past and recognize the impact he has had. For the first time in our history, HFP yesterday handled it's 4,000th request for help. The impact of the organization continues to grow each year.
To close, Doug pays tribute to Maurice in today’s blog: http://bit.ly/2i2Mo6g
Starting the Week with Charles Spurgeon
October 23, 2017
"A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble."
~Charles H. Spurgeon
October 22, 2017
"...whoever refreshes others will be refreshed."
Starting the Week with Fr. Greg Boyle
October `16, 2017
"The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives."
Fr. Greg Boyle
October 15, 2017
"...encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. ...always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else."
I Thessalonians 5:14-15
A crowd of nearly 400 welcomed Fr. Greg Boyle to Grand Haven yesterday for Humanity for
Prisoners's biggest fundraiser of the year. Fr. Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and author
of "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion," delivered a powerful message
about the community of kinship, and going out to the margins to stand with those whose burdens
they cannot bear. The audience laughed, cried, and came away moved by this powerful message.
HFP would like to extend our sincere thanks to Fr. Boyle for coming out to Grand Haven, and to
Thomas Boland, Fr. Boyle's assistant at Homeboy Industries. Before Fr. Boyle left to head back to
California, HFP Founder Doug Tjapkes was able to present our gift of thanks - a handmade Prayer
Shawl made by the women at Huron Valley Correctional Facility.
HFP would also like to thank our Board Chair Cindy Anderson, who led the event committee and
went out of her way to make sure the evening was a success. Our sincere thanks also goes out to
event committee members Char Boertman, Lyn Bullington, Sue Hamm, Edward Hartline, Roxanna
Hartline, Kathy Humphrey, Anne McLaughlin, Shannon McMaster, Eddie Sanders, Mike Scripps and
Karen Wolters. An event this scale takes months of planning and several meetings, and this committee
made things happen!
Finally, HFP thanks our supporters, both the event sponsors and those who came out to the event. It
was a landmark evening for our organization, and your support allows us to reach those out on the
margins in Michigan prisons.
Starting the week with John Henry Jowett
October 9, 2017
"God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters."
John Henry Jowett
HFP Blog: Yep, we have perverts and robbers and murderers in our prisons. We also have thousands of exceptionally gifted individuals whose minds and skills and talents are left behind bars to rot. If we don’t tap those resources, Doug says, we are the criminals! See today’s blog: http://bit.ly/2y7jhGC
October 8, 2017
"Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
More Yarn for Prisoners
October 4, 2017
HFP volunteers, in late September, spent time picking up and packaging unused spools of yarn from a
Michigan carpet factory to be used in state prison hobby-craft programs. Board members Judy VanderArk
and Karen Wolters have been coordinating this program for years. In this quiet, “below the radar” project,
HFP has delivered thousands of dollars worth of yarn for this prison projects. Inmates use the materials to
create clothing, blankets and throws for numerous charitable agencies and facilities.
Starting the Week on International Wrongful Conviction Day
October 2, 2017
Four years ago, HFP President Doug Tjapkes made this announcement:
"HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS has agreed to partner with Toronto-based ASSOCIATION IN DEFENCE OF THE WRONGLY CONVICTED in establishing WRONGFUL CONVICTION DAY, to be observed annually on October 2. Win Wahrer, friend of HFP and Director of Client services for AIDWYC, said the idea was to help enlighten the public as to the consequences of wrongful convictions. Doug Tjapkes, President of HFP, agreed with the goal of this partnership: to make as much impact as possible in our common cause of preventing and remedying wrongful convictions. HFP joins with other sponsoring agencies in hoping that this annual focus will lead to meaningful discussion and reforms resulting in a reduction of these shameful statistics."
It might shock you to know how many innocent people are sitting in Michigan prisons. See today’s blog: http://bit.ly/2xUOIFR
October 1, 2017
“You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand."
A Salute to our Founding Couple!
September 28, 2017
Yesterday was a special day for the HFP family, as HFP founder Doug Tjapkes and his wife Marcia
celebrated 60 years of marriage. While Doug has been a tireless advocate for inmates since HFP
was founded in 2002, Marcia has been providing quiet support behind the scenes, lending her
knowledge as a retired nurse. What many people don't know is when Doug struggled with health
issues several years ago, Marcia teamed up with a part-time HFP employee and kept the operation
afloat. Without her efforts, we would not be here today!
So we honor and salute Doug and Marcia for their 60 years of marriage, and wish them nothing but
happiness and health in the years to come!