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Elsa's Inmate Card Projects This forum is dedicated to the memory of one of our most loyal members; Elsa Punzi. Send Birthday & Holiday cards to inmates!

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  #1  
Old 03-05-2015, 02:54 PM
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Thumbs up Why do you send mail to inmates?

"Why do you send mail to people in prison?" I have been asked this question repeatedly. Not only is the mail clerk curious but also my friends, the "card" lady at my local Walgreens and even my daughter. This helps to answer that question.

Today I received a "thank you" card. I hate to think of someone in prison spending their money to buy ME a card. But I will admit, I love these rare reminders of why I send mail to inmates. I know from the envelope it's a card because the envelope itself is "different". Of course, I'm already intrigued & smiling. As I open the envelope I'm thinking to myself, "What's it say? Who's it from?" Obviously, I don't recognize the handwriting, which makes this MORE exciting. The actual card is beautiful, what about the words inside?

I read the softly written words, and for some odd reason, imagine this gentleman also speaks with a soft voice. This is a bit of what he has to say:

"Angela ... thank you for the card at Christmas time. I know you weren't expecting a reply but SURPRISE sweet person. My world is very different but I have a lot to be thankful for. Sometimes one wonders if living under these conditions is better than dying... and the answer will always be YES. I will continue to move forward, you all who care, deserve that from me."

He closed the letter with ...

"Again thank you for the kind words at Christmas time it brought a smile to my heart. Should you ever need me, I'm here for you.... Hugs from my heart to yours..."

I can't speak for anyone else, I wouldn't want to. But this man spoke for himself, from his heart. I don't know why anybody else takes their time, money & effort to send cards to inmates but this, words like his ... is only one of the endless reasons why I LOVE what I do.

Thanks for reading....

Angela
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2015, 05:19 PM
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Personally knowing so many people in prison (friends and family members have been incarcerated all my life), I have seen how these individuals are so "popular" on the streets. As soon as they get locked up, they truly find out who is really there for them and most are forgotten. That makes my heart sad.

When I found PTO and the card swap, I was delighted. This was a program that showed these inmates they weren't forgotten. No one deserves to be lonely. I mean most of these men and women aren't bad people, they just made bad choices. Most are appreciative of the extra mail and I know in my heart that they at least smile if nothing else and that makes it all worth it to me.
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:37 PM
Juliet1084 Juliet1084 is offline
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I enjoy sending out cards and letters as it allows me to get to know people on an emotional level instead of just physical when it comes to relationships and I have also built many friendships this way. In person I tend to be quiet and it takes awhile for people to get to know me but when I write I am able to talk about everything and anything under the sun. It is also therapeutic for both parties involved and I have learned working substance abuse and at a halfway house for a DOC contractor that there are many who feel isolated and like they only belong in prison. A simple phone call or letter can make all the difference to these individuals
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Old 06-06-2015, 07:19 PM
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The simple answer is.....because I want to and I can!

The longer answer is because I enjoy writing letters and find it's better to write to someone who perhaps hasn't had mail for a long time (if at all) and who can't just go to the shops to have interaction with other people....sure, they're not in the middle of nowhere all on their own, but I've found that nowadays, far too many are in solitary (whether that's SHU, Ad-Seg, the hole or any other situation) and that isolation alone can break even the strongest mind.....and if a few minutes (ok so maybe a little longer than that in reality) out of my day can make such a huge difference to the life of someone the other side of the world....then I'm ALL up in that.

I love to spread smiles and hugs and in the case of sweet Angela (my Batgirl!) besos too!

In some cases, one might want/need to overlook a persons 'charge the were convicted of' to be able to write to them, but the reward for doing so, is so worth it...to hear that your letter bought a tear to their eye (not all are con-men and speak with forked tongues, some are genuinely emotional) or a smile to their face for the first time in years....makes any amount of questioning or attitude from outside influences (such as friends) a drop in the ocean by comparison.

Most of my penpals have lengthy sentences so I will be writing to them for a long time and as each month passes, I can't think of a life where I'm not stalking the mailbox to see if I have mail or where I'm not writing a letter to one of them haha

(See, I told you it was a longer reason!)

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Old 10-21-2015, 05:01 PM
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I know this post is from a while back but I just want to thank each and everyone of you! And I'm sure y'all put so many smiles on all of our loved ones in the system. And I will Love to do the same! I went out and bought some encouragement and all type of cards to send out! I can't wait :-) I may not have ask the time in the world but I will do my best to send out cards to our loved ones!!
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Old 10-21-2015, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MommyBear View Post
I know this post is from a while back but I just want to thank each and everyone of you! And I'm sure y'all put so many smiles on all of our loved ones in the system. And I will Love to do the same! I went out and bought some encouragement and all type of cards to send out! I can't wait :-) I may not have ask the time in the world but I will do my best to send out cards to our loved ones!!
I just recently received a letter back from someone about to end his days on Death Row (politer way of saying his date for execution was here) and if I ever thought the power of the pen wasn't mighty, then his letter proved that theory wrong....I'm a bit of a tough nut usually (used to be a marshmallow thru n thru) and don't cry much, but his letter made me tear up...when, at times, he mentioned how bitter sweet it was to get such a letter from a total stranger at his time of need....and he wrote me a huge long letter, thanking me for writing to him and ignoring his situation, but the bit that pulled on my heart strings was the few times he mentioned that that would most likely be his first and last letter. Reading the rest of his letter, I would envisage that he was one of the people you hear about that aren't mentally stable and not totally responsible for their actions that put them on death row.

Seeing his letter makes me even more determined to send as many cards and notes out to all the requests made via this forum...not for adulation's to/for me, but because I know how much of an ego boost it is for them to have their name hollered at mail call, and then to see words from a stranger (and they don't get much stranger than me!) letting them know someone cares enough to send them a card.

However much the card and postage cost us, it's value is priceless to someone who has been forgotten about by family, friends and homeboys/girls, it truly is....and for me, that's all I need to spur me on to send more.

Glad to have you join us in the forum MommyBear.

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Old 10-21-2015, 06:42 PM
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Mommybear ... my hope is you & your loved one, find fulfillment with the Card Projects.

Nomes - your post made me cry. Thank you for writing that, we all need reminding. You did that for me today.
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Old 10-21-2015, 10:48 PM
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Mommybear ... my hope is you & your loved one, find fulfillment with the Card Projects.

Nomes - your post made me cry. Thank you for writing that, we all need reminding. You did that for me today.
De nada mi angel!

Besos Robin aka Nomes!
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:30 AM
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Nomes... You made me cry also! It's really sad that people are forgotten in the system and I am already enjoying this forum and looking to send joy to people. We are human and we need more people in this world like y'all! We all make mistakes in life, no one is perfect.

But I will gladly send out cards to our loved ones so let me know if someone needs mail love.... I will send done love from Dallas Texas :-)

Thank you again for all that y'all do!
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:35 AM
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Nomes, your post really brought tears to my eyes and made me reflect on the reason I send cards out to inmates. I stumbled on the card swap at PTO going through the forums and I thought to myself what a wonderful idea. I know that my son does not receive mail other than from me and I thought of everyone that just does not receive any mail. I started sending cards with absolutely no expectation of receiving anything in return, not even a thank you letter. Then I started receiving thank you letters and it really helped me see what a difference our cards make in the days of many. I received a letter yesterday thanking me for his birthday card an excerpt read “I got a beautiful b-day card today……. thank you… It really brightened my dark world”. What an amazing feeling to know that I made an impact in someone’s day by sending them a birthday card, holiday card, encouragement card or any card to let them know that they are not forgotten and they have people that love them enough to think about them in our PTO card exchange (swap). What nomes said in an earlier post “I know how much of an ego boost it is for them to have their name hollered at mail call” this so so true. I cannot put a value on knowing what an impact I can make in someone’s day, this is why I take time, money & effort to send cards to inmates
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Old 10-22-2015, 09:22 AM
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All you ladies are just too much ...

I realize some of you may be "burned out" ... there are times that I question if I want to continue sending mail? When spending so much time writing personal messages thinking, "There are 100 other things I should be doing right now.."

Like Quetz, when I first started sending, I didn't expect so much as a thank you. That is the honest truth... oftentimes, I feel bad that a stamp (they are hard to come by for most) was used & I can't even write back!

But then I think ... like the Geico commercials ... If you are Angela ... sending cards ... this is what I do!! Now when people ask, this is my response. I LOVE doing it ... not only because I know firsthand, of the impact I'm making. Also because of the JOY it brings to my heart ... the purpose it brings to my days...
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Old 10-23-2015, 02:23 AM
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Thank you Angela for sharing this, this thread is SUPER and all you ladies are, well, angels in disguise on this earth. Not many people know that I write to inmates, and the ones that know look at me like I’m a Martian or something. My husband was rather skeptic when I told him and thought I wouldn’t go through. Well, I did and he began seeing the first good things that came from what I do. The smiley eyes whenever receiving a letter, the peace that comes from knowing you can relieve someone’s dark day. So at times he asks me: how are your inmates? And now he acts like a secretary going to the post office in my place! I have myself been pondering on why I do this. Two days ago I received a letter. For some reason something must have gone wrong with one of my letters out and for this one of my friends hasn’t been receiving any mail from me since one month (I guess my letter will come back but if so it will take time). He wrote me that he can only assume that I decided to stop writing him!!! My heart sank. It was a letter where he asked to forgive HIM for not being a good enough pen pal or having said something that upset me… but if he did I must understand that he lives in a challenging environment etc. I was SO sad to have caused him to think that I had abandoned him, even if it was unconsciously done. I imagined this big man feeling alone and craving for a good word from a total stranger who lives 7000 km away. Here is how he ended his letter: “So anyway, I don’t know what else to say, you seemed like such a super person to me and I guess I screwed it up. I’m sorry. I’d love to hear from you again, but if not I wish you all the love, happiness and luck life has to offer! I will always be thankful for the little bit of sunshine YOU brought into my life. I’ll pray that you can forgive me. Please be careful and stay safe.” I’m sure you can imagine how I rushed to the post office, pretty much running faster than Usain Bolt to reassure him that everything is alright and I will not stop writing unless he asks me to. So maybe the answer for me is: we write to inmates because we cannot help doing otherwise. It’s called compassion. We simply can’t help it.
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Old 10-23-2015, 08:32 AM
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Verde thanks for sharing, you made me smile.
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Old 12-02-2015, 08:54 PM
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He doesn't take communication for granted. Small talk literally gives me hives, so this is a good deal for me.
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Old 12-06-2015, 06:40 PM
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I am a Catholic. Jesus says that when we visit someone in prison, we visit Him (Matthew 25:31-46).

Whenever I write to a prisoner, I will write "Hebrews 13:3" somewhere on the card or letter that I send. Hebrews 13:3 is one of my favorite passages from the Bible:

"Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."
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