Matthew Chapter 25 Verse 36 says, "I was in prison and you came to me.” By offering free housing, the Matthew 25 Center in Burgaw makes it easier for inmates' loved ones to do just that. “We're trying to help that family survive the crisis of their family member being incarcerated,” said Jimmy Joseph. Thanks to grant money and donations from groups and individuals, the Burgaw facility has provided families from all over the country, with a place to stay and small meals right down the road from Pender County Correctional Facility. “This place is so quiet and peaceful in comparison to motels. So you just go ‘oh thank you, Jesus’,” said Marcia Freeman. Paying for a motel and meals could be the difference between getting to see family and being alone, and when inmates get visitors, it helps the family. “Particularly the children if they maintain that relationship. Families that visit stay together at a much higher rate,” Freeman said. Last year, a new prison opened in Columbus County. Now community members are trying to spread the program’s success. “They were providing a place for inmates of families to visit and it was having a positive effect, we had to have a place like that in Tabor City,” said Burnett Coleman. “You can tell a big difference when the inmate does get a visit, they've got a better attitude,” said Kirby Sanderson of the Tabor City Correctional Institution. The Tabor City group has to raise $1.2 million to build the facility, but Joseph hopes that's only the beginning. “It's our dream that there would be units like this all across the state of North Carolina, all across the United States.” The Tabor City group had a two-acre plot donated and raised $10,000 for the center's future location. Tabor Correctional Institution is about three times larger than Pender Correctional, which means the program could help more families visit their loved ones. To help contribute to the success of the Matthew 25 Center, you can contact them at 910-840-5226 or vial e-mail at email@example.com. Donations can be sent directly to The Matthew 25 Center at Tabor City, PO Box 313, Tabor City, NC 28463.
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