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'Moms Not Forgotten': Effort to recognize moms behind bars this Mother's Day

moms book.jpg
Posted at 4:03 PM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 20:29:53-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Not everyone gets to celebrate with their mom on Mother's Day. Some kids aren't able to because their mom is incarcerated.

A first-of-its-kind program at the Kent County Jail is working to honor those moms and the bond they have with their kids despite being behind bars.

"Just because you're in jail doesn't mean you're still not a mom; it doesn't mean that you don't have children that you still love for and care for," said Sarah Heaton, a chaplain with Reach the Forgotten Jail Ministry. "A lot of times, it's viewed that you're in the jail, so let's throw you away. But we all still are humans; we all still have that love for our children."

"Moms Not Forgotten" is a collaboration between the Kent County Sheriff's Office, 70x7 Life Recovery, Prison Fellowship Ministriesand Reach the Forgotten Jail Ministry.

More than 100 moms at the jail will be given a book to share with their kids; others will also receive a Build-A-Bear with a recorder built in to leave a special message for their kids.

"We were just really passionate about coming up with a group of women that we could honor during this time. And what better way to do that than to go in and bring an event that hopefully will give hope to those moms during this difficult season," said Joy Sparks with Prison Fellowship Ministries. "Of course it's Mother's Day, but we're also coming out of a very long season of the quarantining that happened with COVID. And you know, that's affected folks that are incarcerated even more than us on the outside, I would say. So just bringing an event, bringing in volunteers, bringing in some entertainment for them, they are very, very excited."

Organizers hope to help these families stay connected, despite being separated by a jail sentence.

"We love the idea of that it's both sides, of the jail and the family outside. They're not with their mom at this time ... it's not just the mom that has the loss in that relationship; the kids have no ability to celebrate with their mother either. So it's really great to be able to work both sides of that family relationship," said Patrick Moran, CEO of 70 x 7 Life Recovery. "We believe that that relationship needs to be nurtured during their time incarcerated, so when they get out and start to recover their lives, they're ahead of the curve."

The event is set for next Saturday, May 14 at the Kent County Jail.

To learn more, or to donate to the event, visit one of the partner agencies below:

70x7 Life Recovery

Prison Fellowship Ministries

Reach the Forgotten Jail Ministry

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