Kingsway Jail and Family Outreach

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – Since 1983, Kingsway Prison and Family Outreach has been helping inmates and those released from prison reintegrate into the community.

The organization is made up entirely of volunteers who ensure that everyone receives love and compassion.

“That’s basically our reason for being, to love our neighbours,” said Vicki Barb, volunteer and board chair of Kingsway Prison and Family Outreach.

One of the ways Kingsway volunteers are showing the love this month is by sending approximately 2,300 Valentine’s Day cards to inmates in Virginia.

“Most of them never get anything in the mail, and hearing their name called for mail really means something to them,” said Louise Jennings, director of Kingsway.

And while the organization lets people on the inside know they are loved and cared for, Kingsway is also dedicated to helping those on the outside.

“We need to know what their specific need is, their most urgent need. Most of them go back to the phone so they can get in touch with their probation officer, try to find a job,” Barb explained.

But the help doesn’t stop there.

“Sometimes they have to come back a second time to maybe help with their light bill, or their baby was sick and they needed help. That’s what Kingsway offers. We provide that little extra ‘umpf’ that society cannot give,” she added.

It’s things like that that have really made a difference for those returning to society.

“This guy knocked on my window and said, ‘I just wanted to say thank you.’ And he said, four years ago, he got out of jail, and he said, ‘you gave me a phone, and you took me where I needed to go…I didn’t go back inside the prison… And I’ve been working since you helped me find a job,” Jennings said.

The organization has served the Harrisonburg-Rockingham community for nearly 40 years and is now working to raise funds to hire a paid director to continue its work for years to come.

“I started going to prisons in 1977, and I never stopped, and I am now 86 years old. We need someone who we know can handle day-to-day operations,” Jennings said.

If you would like to get involved with Kingsway Prison and Family Outreach, you can call (540) 433-5658 or visit kingswayoutreach.org.

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