St Mark’s 2022 Lenten Mite Box: Incarceration Justice Issues

Feb 22, 2022

Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. (Psalm 82:3)

Again this year, the Lenten Mite Box Team will provide a daily reflection about incarceration realities via the St. Mark’s Daily Prayers and Events messages. These are for you and your family to think about in relation to our brothers and sisters involved in the justice system. We have included poetry from members of the Free Minds Book Club, so you will hear directly from the source. Most of the Free Minds writers are young people who have been swept up into the justice system. Some entries may not be appropriate for our youngest members, so please read through them before sharing with your children, especially those in elementary school. Most daily reflections will suggest making a donation to your own mite box.

Since we cannot distribute boxes again, we encourage you and your family to be creative in making one. In the past, we often used a pint-sized plastic carryout container with a slit in the cover; however, you can improvise with a large mug, empty tissue box, or something your family creates together. Whatever you use as a container will be yours to keep and will not be turned in to the church at the end of Lent.

You can deposit actual money in the mite box, but you can also decide whether your family wants to use tokens that represent specific values. Such tokens might be match sticks, beans, marbles, or whatever you choose. At the end of Lent, you will be asked to determine the value represented by what you have deposited and what you want to contribute. Instructions for collecting these donations will be provided right after Easter.

The Outreach Board voted to allocate the 2022 Lenten project mite box funds to incarceration justice organizations. All donations will go to Free Minds and RCAN:

  • This organization supplies books, provides writing workshops and training, and promotes mentors. They work with citizens and youth returning to the community from prison or detention, helping them to use their voices effectively, seek meaningful ways to participate and work, and find mutual support.
  • Returning Citizens Assistance Network (RCAN). Founded by New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and Metropolitan AME Church in collaboration with the Public Defender Service, the network comprises about 20 faith communities (including St. Mark’s). We receive a monthly email message with urgent requests for citizens impacted by the justice system. Examples include help for families caring for children of those who are in prison, garments for citizens released with one set of clothes and no coat, and food cards.

Questions? Please contact the Outreach Board at



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