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Phoenix Inmate Organizations Step Up During COVID-19, Support Local Organizations

Tags: Phoenix
June 17, 2021 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

PA Coat of Arms

Just a few weeks into the pandemic, the inmate organizations at SCI Phoenix stepped up, and they have been an invaluable asset to the administration ever since.

Their fundraising efforts have managed to keep morale high with their daily ice cream and bean pie sales, as well as their quarterly snack food, candy and Tastykake sales. With the significant amount of money earned throughout the pandemic, they have made it a priority that everyone benefits from their work inside the institution, as well as many on the "outside."

Having heard of the recent passing of a respected staff member's young daughter to Leukemia, LACEO (Latin American Cultural Exchange Organization) immediately donated $1,000 to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in her memory. This was just one of many charitable donations  LACEO members were responsible for.

Their popular ice cream fundraiser allowed them to send monetary gifts totaling nearly $10,000 to many beneficiaries including: Philabundance (for a holiday food drive), The Covenant House (to provide safe shelter to runaways and at-risk youth), Soldier's Angels (to make care packages for soldiers overseas), Lutheran Settlement House (to provide post-natal care for mothers in need), Women in Transition (to create a safe space for victims of domestic violence), Bethlehem School District (for scholarships) and Ezperanza College (for supplies related to Latin American studies).

SCI Phoenix's NAACP Chapter, along with their Real Street Talk initiative, was equally motivated in fundraising and charitable efforts with the Philadelphia Friends Rehabilitation Program being the most recent beneficiary. Following their latest successful snack food fundraiser, the organization directed $6,000 of their profits to assist the Quaker-related non-profit in their mission of providing housing and social services to low-income households. They are also responsible for spearheading three of the institution's biggest giveaways which included a well-received Chicken & Waffle Dinner in which they paid for a portion of, prepared, and assisted staff with the distribution of nearly 3,000 dinners, which included two chicken breasts, tater tots and waffles. Calling on some of their supporters (Philadelphia Laborer's Union 332 and rapper, Meek Mill), they were able to secure full-sized cakes for a President's Day Cake Giveaway and tumblers for an upcoming Fourth of July distribution. Meek Mill, who stays in touch with some of the inmates after his time in SCI Graterford, is a strong supporter of Real Street Talk and donated the tumblers.

The LIFERS, The Gray Panthers and United Community Action Network - Fathers and Children Together (UCAN-FACT) Programs have contributed a great deal as well through their fundraising efforts which included daily bean pie sales, a candy sale and Tastykake & doughnut sale, respectively, allocating the profits to cover the Chicken & Waffle Dinner, a Philly Soft Pretzel giveaway for Memorial Day, and a few other smaller giveaways inside the institution. UCAN-FACT directed portions of their profits "outside" as well, presenting Uplift Solutions (a non-profit focused on addressing the root of recidivism and unemployment to create greater access to employment for reentrants) a check in the amount of $5,000 in appreciation of their cause.

And for their encore:

Representatives from all the organizations came together and have pledged to donate a sizeable amount collectively ($10,000-$12,000) to Dream Come True in honor of former long-time SCI Graterford Corrections Activities Manager Tony Wolfe's young son, Hunter, who passed away following a hard-fought battle with Leukemia. With their collective generosity it is their hope that they can fulfill a chronically or terminally ill child's dream.

The efforts of SCI Phoenix's inmate organizations cannot be overlooked as their endeavors have been immeasurable in helping to maintain a stable institution during very trying times and have contributed to the benefit of countless individuals in need in society.


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