After seeing spiritual care pause at one correctional facility, a Winnipegger is starting a card-drive to spread positivity and the good news of Jesus to those experiencing severe isolation.
Alex Bancroft says that she has a loved one currently at Headingley Correctional Institution. She says her loved one is lonely, tired, and sad, which is not uncommon right now.
“I think about the size of their cell, and it is the size of my bathroom. And there are two people in there. And they are in lockdown. They have to eat there, they have to sleep there, and they have to go to the bathroom there.”
Listen to how she plans to bring hope to isolated Manitobans here:
She says due to the outbreak, they only are permitted to spend 30 minutes a day outside of their cells.
“He has me to talk to, once a day for 15 minutes that is it, but how many people incarcerated do not have people to talk to?” Bancroft asks.
She says spiritual care, such as regular Sunday services, has halted at the facility since the beginning of the outbreak, long before the orders for Manitobans to stop in-person worship gatherings.
“He talked to a chaplain in July, and because of COVID, the chaplain was cut off from seeing any inmates.”
With the lack of services and an increase in isolation, Bancroft says she wants others who are in a correctional facility to know they are not alone with her Compassion in Action project.
“People who are incarcerated are lonely and forgotten. And sure, they did something wrong and people think they get what they deserve, but do we get everything we deserve? Jesus took everything for us.”
Bancroft is making cards filled with positive messages and prayers for those who are feeling lonely.
While she will be making some cards herself, Bancroft is hoping others join her.
“I think encouragement in any form brings someone joy. and just the thought of getting a card, even if it does not have their name on it, they are a ‘you.’ I hope ‘you’ are doing well. I am praying for ‘you.”
She says the campaign coincidentally lines up with Christmas, but it was not the intention.
The organizer has contacts at Headingley, as well as at other institutions that can distribute the cards to those who would like one. Those who wish to participate can email Bancroft at email@example.com.
As of Friday, Headlingly has had a total of 216 cases of COVID-19 in staff and “non-staff”, with 121 active cases. There have been no COVID-19 deaths in the facility.