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HFP Receives Ultimate Vote of Confidence!

May 23, 2018
Once again, Humanity for Prisoners has been the recipient of a Prisoner Benefit Fund (PBF) grant. President Doug Tjapkes reports that a $500 contribution has been received from the Saginaw Correctional Facility PBF. The prison is located in Freeland, Michigan.
Every prison in the state has a PBF, which is mostly used to fund services, equipment and supplies which have a direct benefit to prisoners. The money comes primarily from the prison store, prison vending machines, prison photo ticket sales, and hobby craft sales. It is administered by a committee made up of two inmates who serve on the Warden’s Forum, as well as two staff members designated by the Warden.
Since its inception in 2001, Humanity for Prisoners has been the recipient of numerous PBF gifts from several Michigan prisons. “Our team considers these donations as the highest compliment,” said Tjapkes. “For us, it’s the ultimate expression of praise and support for the work and the services we provide. What an honor!”

HFP Blog: It’s a fact, HFP and Michigan prisoners are definitely family! Read the latest entry
HERE

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Starting the Week with Desmond Tutu

May 21, 2018

“God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.”
~ Desmond Tutu

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Sunday Verse

May 20, 2018

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
—Lamentations 3:22-23

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HFP Blog - Kudos to two local TV journalists!

May 18, 2018

HFP pays tribute to two local TV investigative reporters in the latest entry on the HFP Blog. ReadHERE

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Starting the Week with Albert Browning

May 14, 2018
"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there."
- Robert Browning

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Help Wanted

May 9, 2018
Humanity for Prisoners is looking for a summer intern to work in our office in Grand Haven. We offer a wonderful opportunity for hands-on experience for students looking to work with inmates, possibly Sociology or Criminal Justice majors. We will be happy to work with your educational institution to give you proper credit as well. Contact Matt via email at matt@humanityforprisoners.org.

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Starting the Week with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

May 7, 2018

"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Sunday Verse

May 6, 2018

Sunday Verse
"The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy."
Proverbs 12:22

HFP Blog: Little things mean a lot. They can also annoy. See today’s entry
 HERE

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​Petition Supporting Good Time in Michigan
May 2, 2018
Recently, a bill was introduced in the Michigan House that would bring back "good time" to Michigan prisoners. Good time would essentially reward inmates for good behavior by reducing their sentence among other things.
This bill was never voted on in the House. Now, supporters of the bill have put together a petition that will bring this to a vote. Please visit http://sawarimi.org/archives/1775 and consider adding your name today!

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HFP Blog - Prison volunteers

May 1, 2018

Volunteers make a huge impact in Michigan prisons. HFP attends a volunteer appreciation event, and posts this blog: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/2018/04/prison-volunteers-lightening-burden.html

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Starting the Week with Frederick Douglass

April 30. 2018

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
Frederick Douglass

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Sunday Verse

April 29, 2018

"Blessed are the Merciful for they shall obtain Mercy." 
Matthew 5:7

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HFP Blog - A tribute

April 27, 2018
HFP pays tribute to John Carlyle, a pillar of our community who also played a key role in the formation of HFP. See today’s blog
HERE

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HFP Introduces Second Video in Series

April 25, 2018
Inmate Roger Church struggled to get treatment for a rare kidney disease until someone steered him to HFP. Upon his recent release, he shares not only how we helped him get appropriate care, but also how we helped his Viet Nam veterans group. This is the second in our series of four-minute videos. Please take a moment to watch:  
 https://youtu.be/ZmeQVUPhGdw

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​HFP seeks relaxation of MDOC hospital visit policy

April 24, 2018
Humanity for Prisoners has asked the Michigan Department of Corrections to modify its position on visits for prisoners who are in private hospitals for treatment of serious illness or injury. As it stands now, visits---even by immediate family---are not permitted unless death is deemed imminent.
 
HFP cited a case earlier this month where the parents of a 58 year old inmate were approved for a visit, because their son was in a coma, on a ventilator and unresponsive. However, when some response was detected by the tending physician, the visitation rights were terminated, as it appeared death was no longer imminent. The prisoner died three days later. Alone.
 
In a personal appeal to MDOC Director Heidi Washington, HFP President Doug Tjapkes asked for a slight modification in policy allowing loved ones to visit the critically ill, even if death does not appear to be imminent. “We think this is a far more humane approach, and we are supported by medical experts who believe that such visits can also be healing for the patient,” said Tjapkes. He said HFP has received complaints from families of dying prisoners regarding this policy for many years.
 
In addition to the modification of this policy, HFP is also requesting that the Department provide an avenue of appeal if hospital visitation is denied. Under the current plan, loved ones cannot appeal such decisions.
 
HFP Blog: Does punishment like the death penalty and life without parole really work? Some thoughts in today’s entry HERE.

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Starting the Week with Rev. Sharon Dunlop

April 23, 2018

​"Let us remember those who have been wrongfully convicted and who sit in the darkened world of prisons as if we were one of them.  Then let us help them to maintain their dignity, as they work towards proving their innocence."
Rev. Sharon Dunlop

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Last Call for the Unball!
April 19, 2018
A prisoner’s wife makes a non-reservation for the HFP Unball, and sends $60!
"Please count on me not attending the Unball. I definitely will not be there. And, it seems that my husband cannot attend this, as well, which is great news as there's not been any recent events he could actually participate in---so he won't be there either. I've paid a little extra for his costs! :)"
You still have time to make a non-reservation! Use the Donate Now button to send your payment
HFP Blog: HFP to recommend changes to the MDOC, following recent prisoner death experiences. See today’s entry
 HERE.  

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Shop for mom, help out HFP!

April 18, 2018

Grace and Heart jewelry sales rep and former HFP board member Sue Hamm offers a Mothers’ Day deal to HFP supporters. 20% of all retail sales supports the work of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS.
 
To see this tasteful array of artistic pieces (not costume or trendy) and to place your order, go to
 https://www.mygraceandheart.com/SUEHAMM/shop/preshop.aspx and click on "Shop Now" next to the HFP fundraising event.

Unball Update: We can't believe the number  of you who were unable to make the date of the unball—so it has been rescheduled to NOT occur by April 20, this Friday. Please send your check or pay online and include the number of people NOT attending (plus any additional costs you would have incurred to attend) and send payment to HFP by Friday!

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Starting the Week with Jessica Mitford
April 16, 2018

"The prison system, inherently unjust and inhumane, is the ultimate expression of injustice and inhumanity in the society at large."
-Jessica Mitford

HFP Blog: Our friend needs prayers, and the prison system needs a heart. See today’s blog
HERE

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Sunday Verse

April 15, 2018

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Ephesians 4:29

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Starting the Week with Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 9, 2018

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, 'here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Sunday Verse

April 8, 2018

"Clothe yourselves...with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God."
I Peter 3:4

HFP Blog: Is a prisoner worth more than a parrot? Read
 HERE

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​Starting the Week with Pope John Paul II

April 2, 2018
"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."
— Pope John Paul II

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Sunday Verse

April 1, 2018

"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."
Matthew 28:6

HFP Blog: An Easter Morning gift to you from HFP: Read
 HERE

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Maurice Carter's Birthday

March 29, 2018

​March 29, Maundy Thursday...but also, Maurice Carter’s birthday. Doug reflects on the broken hearts of Mary, the mother of Jesus; and Elizabeth, the mother of Maurice. ReadHERE.

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HFP Blog

March 27, 2018

Opening the HFP email bag during Holy Week. See the latest entry on the HFP Blog HERE.

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Starting the Week with Madeleine L'Engle

March 26, 2018
“Because to take away a man's freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.” 
― Madeleine L'Engle

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Palm Sunday Verse

March 25, 2018

"Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey"
Zechariah 9:9

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Starting the Week with Albert Einstein

March 19, 2018
“If I were to remain silent, I'd be guilty of complicity.” 
― Albert Einstein

HFP Blog: On medical care for Michigan prisoners: Is it time to rethink Corizon? See today’s entry
 HERE.

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Sunday Verse

March 18, 2018

"The righteous care about justice for the poor,
    but the wicked have no such concern."

Proverbs 29:7

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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.

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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

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Sunday verse

“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.” 
John 16:33 

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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

Doug Tjapkes.
 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

in 2004.
 Pastor Gulley is also active in the Southwestern Michigan Ministerial Alliance, and the General Missionary Baptist State Congress of Michigan.

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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 BlogPatience may be a virtue, but it’s a necessity behind bars! See the latest entry HERE

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Sunday Verse

March 4, 2018

"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
John 3:18

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​Here's Why
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

 Doug: http://www.wilx.com/content/news/A-feeling-of-relief-Anthony-Johnson-released-after-four-decades-in-prison-475338183.html

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Starting the week with Dianna Hardy
February 26, 2018
“...it only takes one voice, at the right pitch, to start an avalanche.” 
Dianna Hardy

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Sunday Verse

February 25, 2018

"Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Proverbs 31:9 

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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."
Barack Obama

HFP Blog: Whether prison stats, or school shooting stories...behind the numbers are actual names, real people. Read the latest entry HERE.

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Sunday verse

February 18, 2018

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Psalm 147:3
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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

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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

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Sunday Verse

February 4, 2018
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."
Philippians 2:3

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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, 
extravagantly, 
unconditionally. 
The broken world 
waits in darkness 
for the light that is you."
L.R. Knost

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Sunday Verse

January 28, 2018

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
2 Timothy 1:7

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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!

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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

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Sunday Verse

January 21, 2018
“Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them.”
Ecclesiastes 4:1


HPF Blog: Call HFP what you will, we were on the job last week!
 http://bit.ly/2DVVb4j

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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

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​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
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Sunday Verse

January 14, 2018

"Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness."
1 John 2:9 

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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

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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."
The Lorax

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​Sunday Verse

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.”
Isaiah 40:31

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Happy New Year from HFP!

January 1, 2018
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
C.S. Lewis

HFP Blog: As we being 2018, we need more than dollars! http://bit.ly/2luVpaL
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Sunday Verse

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."
Jeremiah 29:11

Last day for tax-exempt contributions! Read today’s blog first!
 http://bit.ly/2CfYrtL

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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!
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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."
John 1:14

HFP Blog:  Doug has a special Christmas gift to share with you on this Christmas Eve - 
http://bit.ly/2BIydjk

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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!
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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."
Barack Obama

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Sunday verse

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."
Micah 5:2

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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

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Sunday verse

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"
Isaiah 7:14

HFP Blog: Doug’s thoughts following the beautiful Friday evening Advent service -
 http://bit.ly/2AJkGUW

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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

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Sunday Verse

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.
 
Isaiah 9:6
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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. 
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