Fines paid, prisoners get a wonderful Christmas gift

By December 26, 2003

Jamaica (MNN) — A number of detainees in lock-ups in Spanish Town and Kingston had a merry Christmas this year. The international relief organization, Food for the Poor, paid outstanding fines so that the prisoners could be released from prison last week. The detainees, who were in prison for non-violent crimes such as stealing food because they were hungry, were left to languish in the lock-ups because they could not afford to pay the fines that would guarantee their freedom. All of the fines ranged between $6 and $12 US.

The releases were made possible by the Prison Ministries department of Food For The Poor Jamaica, and saw persons from three prisons benefiting. According to Robin Mahfood, president of Food For The Poor, “The people that we have helped have paid their debt to society, and are all eager to begin productive lives. We will help them as they reestablish themselves in their communities with food, shelter and other assistance.” For those prisoners remaining behind bars, Food For The Poor will be visiting and providing prayer, food and gifts.

Food For The Poor, together with the Salvation Army, provided a complete Christmas meal for up to 1,000 street people in downtown Kingston. At this meal, there were distribution of gift packages containing food, shoes and toiletries. The street feeding program, which has been in operation for the last 15 years, normally accommodates 800 persons each day providing lunch and dinner, and is a partnership between Food For The Poor, who provides the food, and the Salvation Army, who prepares and distributes it.

Food For the Poor is the 4th largest international relief organization in the US, and has implemented a highly efficient strategy for aiding the destitute in 16 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. In the last 21 years, with the partnership of our many donors, FFP has shipped over $1.5 billion in aid to the region ($311 million in 2002). FFP provides feeding programs, emergency relief assistance, education, housing, health care and micro-enterprise development assistance to hundreds of thousands of the poorest of the poor in the region.

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