From Receiving a Prisoner Packet to Packing Them
Each year, over 100 volunteers convene in Columbia to pack bags for the Christmas Prisoner Packet ministry.
In 2023, 130 volunteers received over 23,000 packets and processed 17,500 of those packets. Volunteers come from all across the state, through various ministries and churches. Since 1976, South Carolina Baptists have been caring for inmates and providing hope through Christmas Prisoner Packets.
Caring for Inmates
Among the volunteers, many former SC inmates gather to pack the bags. One of those volunteers is Tywea Mills. A former inmate of Camille Griffin Graham, Tywea serves with the Women’s Rise Prison Ministry located in Columbia, SC. “I know how it is back there, so I wanted to come back and give back,” she said. Her prayer for the packets and the inmates that will receive them is that they “strengthen them, enlighten them, encourage them, uplift them, and let. them know that they’re not forgotten, and that they are still loved and thought about.”
She also encourages former inmates to “come out and uplift the same way they were uplifted.” Tywea has volunteered with Christmas Prisoner Packets for over four years and is looking forward to many years to come. “Thank you for allowing us to share the love that was once shared with us,” she said.
Spreading Christ’s Love
Another volunteer, Nicole Pinson, has served on Packing Day for over six years. “I was once one of the ones who was anxiously waiting for this bag,” she said. The first year she volunteered, she saw “genuine love, and not just people [volunteering] for recognition.” She enjoys serving every year to give back to current inmates and to let them know they are loved. “It’s a joy knowing I’m doing something positive with my life. I have been going for six years and looking forward to many more,” she said.