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Madison Interfaith Council forms to focus on outreach

MADISON – A group of residents has organized recently and, for its first project, agreed to supply daily essentials to prisoners without any relatives.

The new organization, Madison Interfaith Council, has supplied hundreds of personal hygiene items and snacks that local congregations have collected for indigent inmates at the North Alabama Community-Based Correction Facility and Work Release.

Since September 2022, representatives from several local churches have been meeting together as the Madison Interfaith Council. The group includes representatives from Grace Covenant Worship and Outreach, Messiah Lutheran Church, Restoration Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a member of Baha’i Faith and Most Merciful Jesus Catholic Church.

“The group meets regularly to discuss the needs in the Madison community and the surrounding areas, looking for specific ways they can work together to meet those needs. The meeting is open to any local pastors or designated representatives,” Charity Stratton said. Stratton serves as Communications Director for the Madison Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When Madison Interfaith Council met in October 2022, one pastor mentioned that prisoners often are overlooked at Christmastime. The council agreed that their first joint project would be collecting items for local inmates.

Council members asked their contacts to establish a connection with a local prison. “After a few dead ends, they contacted retired Rev. David Varner, Chaplain at the North Alabama Community-Based Correction Facility,” Stratton said. “David uses his church, Abundant Life Ministries Internationally, to supply indigent inmates with hygiene items monthly.”

The correction facility houses a range of 550 to 700 inmates at any time. “Thirty to 50 of those inmates have no outside support and depend on help from David’s church for hygiene items,” Stratton said.

In December 2022, Madison Interfaith Council members and their congregations collected 1,336 hygiene items, including deodorant, safety razors, shaving powder, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bodywash and bar soap. The group also collected 997 snacks approved for distribution. The council delivered donations during the week before Christmas.

“Thank you so much for doing this. It is a blessing for the guys. I’m still giving it out,” Varner said about the donated supplies.

“Madison Interfaith Council is looking forward to other ways they will work together to help and bless the community in 2023,” Stratton said.

For more information, email charitystratton@bellsouth.net or visit Facebook/Madison Interfaith Council.

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