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Backpacks placed at the foot of the altar for the community's blessing (Photo: St. John's, Ashfield)

Western Massachusetts Backpack Ministry offer supplies and support for Women Released from Jail


[Episcopal News Service] A small Episcopal congregation in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts is helping female prisoners adjust to life back in the community after their release with backpacks full of supplies and expressions of support.

In three years, the “Love in a Backpack” ministry at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ashfield has assembled and distributed more than 100 backpacks for women released from the Franklin County jail in Greenfield and a women’s prison in Chicopee. Organizers and volunteers hope to expand the ministry in the future as they enlist other churches and community partners to join in the effort.

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