A Service Project At Marshall County Inspires Incarcerated Men to be Better
“Spending 22 years in prison, Feed My Starving Children was the most liberating thing that I’ve had the opportunity to do.”
That’s what Anzio Hubbard had to say after working with the charitable organization which came inside the Marshall County Correctional Facility to allow dozens of incarcerated men, like Mr. Hubbard, to participate in an ambitious service project.
Feed My Starving Children is a nonprofit organization that provides meals for malnourished children throughout the world. Learning of the organization’s efforts through a guest speaker in one of Marshall County Correctional Facility’s program classes, the men at the facility wanted to help. Staff members and inmates looked into what it would take to become involved. Several months later, after countless conference calls, meetings, emails, and raising over $22,000, 110 incarcerated men and many staff members joined a group of local community volunteers including Holly Springs firefighters, and students and staff from Ole Miss University. Their mission? To pack mobile meals, ready for shipping.
“In that moment you didn’t see skin color,” said incarcerated participant Carlos Jackson. “You didn’t see race, you didn’t see inmates, you didn’t see staff, you just saw a group of people that were enjoying their moments, enjoying the opportunity to be able to give to people who are in a situation that’s far worse than ours.”
Tyron Jackson also participated. “And so once we got started, we began to just work together,” he said, “it was not a matter of you’re an inmate, and I’m a free-world person; it was just a group of people who have come together for one common purpose, and that was to feed the starving children. To just be able to experience everybody just working together, and giving back to society, was such a wonderful thing for me, I never understood that until now.”
“We got a chance to interact with people we normally wouldn’t interact [with],” stated Terrence Glover, another participant, “and breakdown walls that are put up through pre-conceived notions of how an inmate would be or how they would act. And we got a chance to do away with a lot of those stereotypes.”
Nicholas Walker said this about his experience: “I think that everybody worked really hard, and I liked being a part of something like that: working hard to feed those children. I feel like I’m giving back to the community.”
“It made me feel a part of something,” added Anzio Hubbard, “it made me feel like somebody. And it’s been a long time since I felt that.”
Tyrone Jackson found it all to be a profound experience. “Words cannot express how great it was to do something good for once,” he said, “and not be a danger to society, but yet be a provider for those who are less fortunate than I.”
“By me doing this and experiencing it,” Willie Powell expressed, “it really just made the impact into my life and just motivated me to do more. To know I saved lives—that’s the most beautiful thing ever, to know that you saved somebody’s life.”
“And to be a part of that,” summarized Carlos Jackson, “I will take that with me for the rest of my life. And I would have to say thanks to MTC and Marshall County Correctional Facility for allowing us to be a part of their special and heartfelt moment. And I pray that the rest of the world will look upon this as a shining light and see that, in spite of people’s circumstances, in spite of their backgrounds, we are greater than the worst thing that we have ever done.”