Hello everyone! I wanted to reach out to you as it is the time of year for me to begin my inmate package program. Twice per year the SC Dept of Corrections allows boxes to be ordered for inmates that include food and clothing items (socks, underwear, etc). I have been doing this for the past 8 years. Many of you have helped me throughout the years and there are a couple who have been so faithful and helped me out each time - and I wish to say a heartfelt THANK YOU!!! For those of you who may have never helped, now is your chance! Bring a smile to someone's face, let them know that someone cares about them. While these women are incarcerated, they are still human beings. I try to help those who do not have any family support or who have longer sentences. I DO NOT help anyone convicted of harming a child. That is my one rule. If you would like to donate, please contact me or go to http://breakingthechains.weebly.com/donations.html and you can donate through paypal. I hope you will open your hearts and help me to help these women. A favorite quote of mine.... “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
It is time for Spring boxes.  I am hoping to help five ladies this year.  Two of these women are in desperate need of undergarments - socks, underwear, bras.  I am hoping to raise $400 before April 10th.  If you would like to donate, please click the donate button the page and follow the instructions.  The money is collected through paypal.  ALL DONATIONS go to help these women - there is not administrative fees or other expenses.  I do this by myself, a "one woman show".

I hope you will open your hearts and help. 
I have started the process of raising money for the box program for 2012.  I am hoping to do at least 25-30 boxes this year.  I have several new ladies I have been asked to help, along with the women currently in this program.  As I have said, I try to help the women who have no family support or no one on the outside to help them.  It is important for them to know that there is someone who cares.  Again, my rules are that you cannot be incarcerated for harming a child.  I make sure of this by verifying records.  I hope you will open your hearts and help out this year.  To all my faithful supporters a HUGE thank you!!!  Wit
Food Issue
I have received numerous letters in the past couple of months about the situation in the SC Dept of Corrections involving the food they are being served.  I have received letters describing spoiled food, food with maggots in it, bowl weevels, mold, all sorts of disgusting circumstances.  People in prison are criminals, this is a fact.  But they are still PEOPLE.  It is not right to serve people food that is only going to make them sick.  Some of the elderly inmates are having a particularly hard time with this, as are the pregnant women and women with terminal illnesses and other medical conditions.  They are not receiving the nutrition they need.  I have encouraged the inmates to write to the Prison Board and to file grievances, but these efforts only go so far.  I have called the prison system offices in Columbia myself and have received the run around each time ultimately being transferred to voicemails and never receiving a call back.  This is very frustrating.  Please keep these women in your prayers as they struggle to survive in the worst possible place on the p
South Carolina currently houses approximately 2,000 female inmates.  Of these, 500 are classified as mentally ill, and nearly 600 have serious medical problems. 

Each year I do Christmas Boxes for women who are incarcerated in the SC Department of Corrections.  I began this program in 2005 by doing three boxes, last year I did 29.  This program is very dear to my heart, as I am a former inmate myself.  I did 2-1/2 years for a white collar crime and was released March 1, 2005.  I met some amazing women during my incarceration.  While I realize that there are people in prison who deserve to be there for the crimes they have committed, I also realize that these women need to know that there is someone who cares about them and are willing to help them.   It is very difficult to be away from your family, especially at the holidays.

One rule for my program is that I do not offer assistance to anyone convicted of a crime involving a child.
I have so many women who have contacted me requesting assistance this year, so I hope you will open your hearts and extend your generosity to this cause.  There are mothers, grandmothers, women of every race and cultural class that I offer assistance to. 

I also do gifts for the children of some of the women, where they can get a gift from their mom.  If you would like your donation to be used for this please let me know.

Donations can be mailed to the address below or made online at breakingthechains.weebly.com.  (Click on Donate button and then Paypal)

Receipts can be provided for tax purposes upon request.

Its been a while since I posted, but things have just been very hectic lately.  It is almost time to start fund raising for the 2010 Christmas Box Program.  Last year we did 29 boxes, and I hope to go beyond that this year.  I have received so many requests for help, so many letters from women asking for assistance.  I want to help as many as I possibly can.  Alot of women who do have family support are asking for help due to their families experiencing a rough time financially due to loss of jobs, and other situations.  As always, I do not help women with child related crimes, so I am screening all the new requests accordingly.   There are several elderly women on the list for this year that I would really like to do something special for, three of them have severe health issues and I want to try and brighten up their holidays this year.  I would like to not only do a box for them, but send some money to their accounts to help cover the cost of their medications and healthcare.  In prison, they charge you $4 each time you go to Medical and they charge you $4 for your prescriptions.  While this is indeed a small amount of money, when you only get $15 - $25 per month it is alot.  So, if these women are getting any money from their families it is going to those expenses, which means they are not getting to buy personals like soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc.  Some people ask me what if the women dont have any money in their accounts?  Well, the charges pile up and when the inmate is released and get a job, the money due to the Dept of Corrections is obtained by keeping State Income Tax refunds.  

I hope that I will have a good response this year, last year was amazing and I appreciate everyone who helped.  Thanks again and I will post again soon!
I would like to thank everyone who helped with the Spring boxes that were sent to the ladies in May.  A special thanks to Tari and to Jay.  Your generosity is so appreciated!  I was able to do 6 boxes, which is way less than what I normally do at Christmas, but it was to ladies who have a significant amount of time and they were very appreciative.  I will try to post some of the thank you letters in the next week or so.  I hope everyone knows how much this means to these women.  I cannot adequately put into words how touched they are that total strangers are willing to help them.  Thank you everyone.
The SC Dept of Corrections is allowing inmates to receive Spring Boxes.  They have actually lowered the prices on some food items and clothing items, which is a good thing.  Also very surprising.  Usually they are so overpriced, it was nice to see some lower prices for once!  I have five ladies I would like to send a full Spring Box to - this would be $100 worth of food and $50 worth of personal clothing like underwear, socks and bras.  These ladies have a significant amount of time.  They do not have family support, so they will be very appreciative.  I am looking into a way to add thank you letters I receive to this site so that I can share that gratitude with everyone who is so sweet to help me out.

Shay wrote me this past week and she is doing well.  She still has not gotten a decision on her PCR.  I am continuing to be hopeful for her.  She has not got into any trouble in a while, which is good.  She hasnt had to go to the "hole" for almost six months now.  I am very proud of her.  You have to understand they can put you in the whole for the least offense.

Continue to pray for these ladies as they face the daily struggle of prison life.  Thanks
I heard from my friend Shay this week.  She went for her PCR last week and will hopefully hear something in the next few weeks.  A PCR is Post Conviction Relief.  It is basically when an inmate petitions the court to reduce their sentence once they have served a portion of it.  They are generally not granted, but it gives the inmates something to hope for.  I really hope hers will come through.  She is a good kid, just got messed up with the wrong crowd when she was in her teens.  She has been locked up for over 9 years.  Please remember this young lady.