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Author Topic: Willow Creek Church Sends Christmas Care Packages to 70,000 Inmates in Illinois  (Read 4762 times)

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Offline me

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Willow Creek Church Sends Christmas Care Packages to 70,000 Inmates in Illinois Prisons


Volunteers at Willow Creek Community Church of South Barrington, Illinois, hold up care packages made for prisoners for Christmas, December 6, 2015.

As part of a tradition that's grown every year, Willow Creek Community Church members spent their Sunday morning filling bags for Christmas care packages that will be distributed to the 70,000 men and women living in Illinois' state prisons.

"This year we set the goal of putting a gift into the hands of every prisoner in the state of Illinois by packing 70,000 gift packs," Tim Schraeder, marketing coordinator at Willow Creek Community Church, told The Christian Post on Monday.

"For the last two years, the Willow Creek Care Center provided Christmas prison packs to 20,000 inmates (2013), and 32,000 (2014), inmates in Illinois. After receiving hundreds of letters from prisoners it was clear that we needed to do more," Schraeder said.

Each care package delivered to the Illinois Department of Corrections for the prison population includes three Krispy Kreme treats, a year-long inspirational journal, a copy of the book Wonderlife, a correspondence booklet titled Jonah, and a Christmas greeting card.

"We take the words of Hebrews 13:3 to 'remember the prisoner' and believe that God can do something extraordinary through something as simple as a paper bag filled with some tangible reminders of God's love," Schraeder explained CP.

"A group of volunteers from our church have been faithfully serving in prisons across Illinois for decades, and in recent years as our senior pastors and staff have gotten involved, the passion grew to include our entire church in the efforts.

"During the Christmas season there are many great programs and outreach opportunities to work with families, children, and the less fortunate, and our church has felt a burden to remember some of society's most forgotten during the Christmas season: prisoners."

Willow Creek's efforts were very much church-centered, with volunteers and funding for the care packages coming from the congregation, according to The Chicago Tribune.

"Attendees at weekend services, youth classes and Spanish-language services all participated in the packing effort," wrote O'Connell. "At the church's care center, men and women, and young and old stuffed the packages assembly-line style, handing them to another member who loaded them into giant stacks of boxes."

The Tribune also reported that all the items were preapproved for distribution by state prison officials and noted that federal inmates were not allowed to receive the packages.


http://www.christianpost.com/news/willow-creek-church-illinois-70000-christmas-care-packages-state-prison-inmates-151875/print.html

Offline OnOurOwn16

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This is a wonderful idea and I'm certain a very appreciated thing from our L/Os and others in IDOC this time of year. So is it true that every inmate this year will receive this care package? I'm half tempted to tell my l/o now and see if/when he receives his gift? Does anyone have additional information on when they intend on delivering them or expected delivery?  :wc18:

Offline me

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This was a newspaper article so no additional information.  If the facility allows it - Willowbrook has packed enough for every inmate in Illinois.  If they get it or not - is up to each individual facility.

Offline smme7

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This is so incredibly nice and thoughtful of these people to do this. I think by doing this it's showing inmates that they aren't forgotten. How awesome!  :elf:
"I want to kiss you under the stars, hold you and never let you go. When I'm with you, my soul is happy"

Offline Tex999

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Very nice of the church to remember them! I hope that they all are allowed to have one.

Offline Forevermah

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This is a great church, been there and they have so many programs to help many !!!  I am sure they asked first what the inmates could have and hopefully they all get it!
Do not value the "things" you have in your life - value "who" you have in your life....



“Instead of thinking about what you're missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.”

Offline trauma4us

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This is really the spirit of Christmas!

Offline stressedmom

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My friend helped pack the bags last year and this year.  I know my son received one last year at Statesville and also her son at Menard received one as well. It was nice that the inmates were remembered for the holidays and got a gift. The church has a huge prison ministry and is very supportive.

Offline sdm

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 sillydeer I read this yesterday .....I could not respond because I began to cry. I wish I lived near this Church!  snwflake

Offline Sizz

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 :mistletoe:


                              Now that is what Christmas is all about! That is wonderful of Willow Church and all the awesome people who make it happen!


                                                                                                                             :christmascard:
" You are my lifemate, bound to me for all eternity and always in my care."

Offline zachsmom

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 :tree: we need a few more churches like this in every state. Can you imagine the love in that room as they packed each bag full of goodies for those inmates?

Offline me

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Willowbrook is an amazing church.  I have had the opportunity to visit and it is a very loving and accepting place.  I would totally recommend anyone near or around that area to visit sometime. 

Offline hgarcia14

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Amazing job!! Hope every prison allows it! :mistlekiss:

Offline kasa

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I would like to send a donation if someone can hook me up with a contact. address and phone number ?

Offline Still love my son

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  • David Cook Rocked in St Louis 7/18/08!!!

Offline sonshine

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This is the best news I've heard since the holidays began...does anyone know if your loved one is in seg..if they get one also...it would be so great if we could send our loved one a small package..just a little something...on a special day...that would be so awesome..

Offline Kay

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A big, warm, heartfelt THANK YOU to the people of Willow Creek Church.  My l/o received his package while on lockdown.  He was very grateful and said the timing could not have been better.  He was surprised that I already knew about the package; I told him I read about it here.  As we are in the general area of Willow Creek, my l/o talked about possibly getting involved with their ministry upon his release.

Offline Tex999

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MyL/O got his already also. I was kind of hoping they would hand them out on Christmas Day so they would have a gift to open. I had told him about it but he doubted they would get it in Vandalia.He said it was very nice. We will be sending a thank you to the church for their thoughtfulness. Do any other churches/ groups do anything like this at prisons in their areas?