prison outreachConcord Prison Outreach is an organization of citizens from Concord and surrounding communities who work with the inmates of Concord Reformatory and the Northeastern Correctional Center on many projects one of which is the presentation of small gift bags for the inmates at Christmas time.   The items must be those described in the list below as no deviation is allowed by the prison authorities. Although the list may seem sparse, these are often the only holiday remembrances that many inmates receive. That the recipients are grateful for this kindness is evident from the touching letters of thanks which will be on display at Coffee Hour from time to time.

Each gift bag will contain the following items as determined by the Dept. of Correction:

  • 1 bar of deodorant soap – 4-5 oz.
  • 1 tube toothpaste – 5.8 – 6 oz.
  • 1 pad WHITE paper 6” x 9” or 5” x 8”, 100 pages (no wire)
  • 1 box white envelopes #6 3/4 (6 1/2” x 3 5/8”)
  • 1 pair white CREW socks preferably 5 inches of ribbing or less (no tube socks, knee highs or “tennis socks”)
  • 1 bottle (plastic) shampoo – 12 -15 oz.
  • 1 stick deodorant 2.5 oz. or larger (no roll-ons, NO GELS)
  • A handmade holiday greeting card follow the instructions below.

Handmade Card

The Department of Correction (DOC) sets the rules for anything distributed to the men. Therefore, if you are making handmade cards abide by the following:

Use paper or card stock (no larger than 8.5 x 5.5), crayons, markers, paint, colored pencils or pens. Sign the card – first name only – and, if you wish, include a non-religious personal message.Avoid metal or sharp objects (sequins, pins, etc.), natural fibers (grasses, flowers, etc.) and potato prints.Do not use any type of glue or tape or stickers of any kind

Gift Bag Donations

Please stick to the above list of items and sizes. No one need purchase all the items, on the other hand, it’s fine to purchase multiples! Every year Outreach receives items other than those specified (by the Dept. of Correction) which cannot be included in the bags. Even so they will all be used. Donations which do not meet the criteria are never wasted but distributed to various shelters and other organizations that can use them.

Donations should be placed in one of the boxes which will be left in the Narthex and near Clark Hall. They will be taken to the Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord where volunteers from Concord Prison Outreach will fill gift bags with one each of the items listed below. Thanks to the participation of Hancock  as well as other faith organizations beyond Concord, it is now possible to provide a gift bag for all the inmates.

Hopefully all donations from Hancock members can be in by Sunday Dec. 6 so that they can be   picked up by me (Louise Haldeman) and taken to the Trinity Episcopal Church 81 Elm St. in Concord for sorting by outreach volunteers.   If you miss the deadline but have things to donate please call the church office.   They need to fill 1700 bags so late donations will be welcome.

Cash donations are also welcome. Your tax-deductible check may be made out to Concord Prison Outreach, Inc., earmarked “Holiday Gifts” and mailed toC oncord Prison Outreach, Holiday Gift Bag ProjectP.O. Box 383.Concord, MA 01742.