ABHMS makes the holiday season brighter for those imprisoned

American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) Public Witness & Advocacy ministry is helping to make the holiday season brighter for those in prison by making a donation toward Christmas dinners held by Bridges Puentes Prison Ministry, Garner, N.C.

A bilingual organization founded in 2014, Bridges Puentes seeks to help men and women overcome barriers to reentering society.

“We believe reentry starts behind the prison walls,” writes Sandi Velez, executive director of Bridges Puentes, in a report to ABHMS. “We are a faith-based nonprofit, followers of Jesus Christ and believe that true freedom and hope is found in Him.”

Christmas dinners are held at North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women, Raleigh, N.C.;  Wake (N.C.) Correctional Center for men; and transition homes.

In addition, Bridges Puentes facilitates Celebrate Recovery—a 12-step program based on the Beatitudes—at the federal prison in Butner, N.C. Other events are held for staff as well as residents. Care packages are provided at Easter and Christmas for undocumented individuals aged 12-17 at Shenandoah Valley Youth Detention Center, Staunton, Va.

A volunteer-based organization, Bridges Puentes relies on donations. No staff member receives a salary.

“Bridges Puentes has given us a front row seat to God’s transformative power, watching miracles after miracles, where lost hope is found and where the impossible does not exist,” writes Velez. “It is from the darkest corners in our lives where many of us begin to learn how to truly love and to ‘act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.’”