Inspirational: Iowa Prison makes donation to Mercury One

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On radio today, Glenn read a letter from a chaplain at Anamosa’s State Penitentiary, where the inmates made a donation of $100 to Mercury One to help provide aid to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. What made the donation so surprising was that the wage for the prisoners who sent the check is only 52 cents/hour, the equivalent of 32 days of work for a single person.

Glenn read:

Dear Mercury One,

Enclosed you’ll find a check from the men of the Chapel Religious Programs at Anamosa’s State Penitentiary in Iowa. I work here as the chaplain religious program coordinator for the program. One of the things we try to accomplish is to help people come to an understanding of the value and importance of other people and why it’s important to reach out to them in a positive way. This is a new concept for some of the men here. This is how the religious program fits into the security, education and treatment of the prison. Please be aware that inside the walls, and they are relatively high, the rate of hours worked is 52 cents. So that means $100 is 32 days of work for a single person here.

We chose Mercury One to be our charity partner because we know the entire amount will go to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Please utilize it in the place where it is needed most.

Richard Jenkins, chaplain, Anamosa’s State Penitentiary, Iowa

“This is a tremendous donation,” Glenn said.

Glenn used the letter as an opportunity to teach about the importance of being able to control where you choose to spend your money. The current progressive philosophy in Washington is “let the government decide where the need is greatest”, but Glenn believes that individuals should have the freedom to decide how to spend their hard earned money.

“When you know the value of work, when you know the value of a dollar, or in this case $100, 32 days of work, and you have the opportunity to give, you don’t let the tax structure do it for you.  Because all of that hard earned money, so much of it is wasted.  Our ability to give and our ability to keep the fruits of our own labor, whether it’s 52 cents an hour or $100,000 an hour, doesn’t matter.  We’re all the same in the end.  We all have to be helped and coaxed and coax others to give.  But then when we do, because our heart has been truly changed, we look for the way to give it the most effective way.  Charity is an investment in people.  It’s an investment in the future.  It’s an investment in ‑‑ I believe in the people in New Jersey, or I believe in the Huntsman Cancer Center.  I believe in them and so I give to them because I know they’re going to use the dollar the most efficient way,” Glenn said.

  • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Very nice of them to do that for the Hurricane Sandy victims.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree that people are generally “good” – after all, written in scripture are words describing just the opposite – the heart of man is “desperately wicked, who can know it” Jeremiah 17:9 – Now, if from a young age our children are raised using the values prescribed by any loving family, then that child will learn the way of give, he will most likely grow up to be a giver, rather than a taker. There are two ways in which the world operates – the way of GET – and – the way of GIVE. The latter is a taught way of behavior, it must be learned. Its benefits include moral conduct, producing citizens who have each others best interests in mind. The other way of life, is what probably landed these inmates in prison to begin with – but – now we have witnessed what good teaching has produced in these men. The beauty of the $100. donation, shows these men have discovered – it is better to give, than to receive.

  • Sam Fisher

    God bless them and hold them.

  • Anonymous

    What is interesting is that these men – who are kept from society by ‘high walls’ – have, through their exposure to religion, come to a realization that many on the outside do not, and never will, possess: charity is personal and is not something to be ceded over to the government. Just look at all the boon-doggles written into the ‘Sandy bill’ that have no bearing whatsoever on helping the victims of this horrible storm (fisheries in Alaska? Is this the current ‘Bridge to Nowhere’?. These men understand their hard-earned dollars must be entrusted to someone who can continue the personal nature ot the giving, and not to the government, nor to any branch thereof, including IRA, FEMA, EPA, etc. Thank you Chaplain Jenkins, for your inspiring story.

  • Robert Starkand

    Very touching.

  • Anonymous

    Very inspiring. 

  • Anonymous

    Another interesting story from Iowa is that the Learning Disabilities Association of Iowa has implemented a literacy program in two our adult correctional facilities. We know that over half of incarcerated adults have learning disabilities and have dropped out of school.  We teach the inmates to read and then the inmates tutor other inmates.  We have had fantastic results. For more information and donation opportunities contact:  or

  • Anonymous

    Very cool. God Bless.

  • Rick Jenkins

    I am the chaplain that wrote this letter.  It is great to have a place like Mercury One to support the ministry here by providing a place for genuine giving to have the maximum impact.

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