Tonight I find myself eating peanut butter and jelly on crackers for my evening meal instead of choking down the industrial strength glop they serve in the mess hall. Rather than forcing myself to swallow lumpy, half cooked rice with a gravy pineapple sauce and bell peppers poured over the top of it with little pieces of (I think) pork bits floating in the mess, I am opting to eat snack food out of my locker. As I’m putting the peanut butter on the crackers I realize that I am able to sustain myself in this fashion thanks to the generosity of those people who support the Adopt A Bruder program.
It’s true. I work three jobs and live frugally but the support of the generous folks such as yourself help sustain me through tough times. Yes, three prison jobs and my main job as a clerk in the H.V.A.C shop barely covers my postage expenses. I also wash other men’s soiled laundry for extra money. I officiate sports in recreation. Sometimes I even work as a suicide watch companion or help work food service for holiday meals. You would think with all these jobs that I would be rolling in dough.
Just last month the administration found other ways to cut our pay. With all the money going to Bush’s wars, money is tight around the federal prison system. The staff is constantly searching for ways to cut costs and inmate pay has been targeted lately. Meanwhile the prices of commissary items have been increasing steadily.
Now I live frugally. I send manufacturers cents off coupons to various families that can use them. I cannot stop collecting aluminum cans by digging them out of the garbage for our recycling project where funds go to our recreation program to buy recreation equipment. My only vice is coffee and the occasional ice cream. When someone sends me a magazine at least a dozen other people read it after me. I don’t gamble. I don’t drink booze. I don’t smoke tobacco nor any “wacky backy”. I don’t use illicit drugs and seldom use the prescription drugs either. I wear my shoes until the hubs rub and the wheels fall off.
I want to thank those of you who gave so generously this past year. I know that many of you have families to feed and are being pinched in the pocket yourselves. Money is tight and yet you were so kind to think of me.
You should know that I don’t waste your hard earned money on frivolities. Your gift is the gift that keeps on giving. I take only what I need to sustain myself and then redirect the rest elsewhere. For example, I was able to assist a few families with young children this Yule. I was able to send some money to a desktop publisher of an up and coming ‘zine so she could pay to mail out her latest issue. I paid to have educational books sent to others in worse situations than myself.
Everyone that has sent money, if I have your address, I make certain to send a thank you note and acknowledgment of receipt of any funds that you submit. Some of you have opted to send anonymously. I want to thank you all of you for being so generous. Your gifts sustain me and inspire me to work even harder for the advancement of our Folk. Thank you so much.
Feb 20th 2007