For decades, Concord Prison Outreach has sponsored the Holiday Gift Bag Project, providing a bag of simple, useful gifts to each incarcerated man in Concord’s two state prisons. Each bag contains toiletries, writing materials, a pocket calendar, and a greeting card. December is a dark time of the year, and it is particularly difficult to be in prison in the holiday season. Each gift bag is a reminder that there are people “outside the walls” who think of their incarcerated neighbors and wish them a better future, both while they are in prison and after release.

CPO is part of a larger Department of Correction effort, to ensure that everyone incarcerated in Massachusetts receives a holiday gift. A daunting task, but one we are confident in, due to the support we have received from volunteers and donors over the years. For anyone who has been involved in the Holiday Gift Bag Project in the past, here are the notable changes

CPO is now serving MCI-Concord, Northeastern Correctional Center, MCI-Shirley, Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, and to women incarcerated at MCI-Framingham. This year, CPO will serve an additional prison, North Central Correctional Institute in Gardner, MA. With this additional prison, our total number of gift bags has risen to 3,000.

Volunteers Needed
In order to tackle a larger number of gift bags, we will be working at five different churches, starting in mid-October. These locations include First Parish Groton, First Parish in Concord, Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, and Congregational Church of Littleton. We will need volunteers at all five locations for different time slots throughout the day.

For those looking to get involved and give back this holiday season, this is a great opportunity for you! For more information and to register for a time slot to volunteer, please click here.

We are unable to accept product donations
The scope of this project and Covid considerations regarding multiple sources and points of contact in collecting goods, mean that we need to centralize the ordering of gift bag supplies. We will purchase all items in bulk and accept financial donations to cover the expense.

Anyone interested in supporting this project through a financial donation may do so here or by mailing a check to Concord Prison Outreach, 100 Main Street, Suite 130, Concord, MA 01742. Please write “Holiday Gift Bag” in the memo section of your check.

Supporting Holiday Gift Bags for people in prison is an act of kindness. Your donation may well be the most appreciated gift you give this Holiday Season.

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Through time, or donation, you can make the difference in an individuals life and future both inside and outside of prison walls.