We Care Program ministers to, saves inmates

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 13, 2018

“We’re more than a thrift store. Our vision is to see the redemptive power of Jesus Christ change their (inmates’) lives not only in the prisons, but out.”

That’s the central message We Care Program Vice President Kevin Kennell wants others to know about the local ministry.

Kennell was the guest speaker at the Atmore Rotary Club’s weekly meeting on June 12. He spoke about the prison ministry at We Care, and highlighted the program’s history.

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Kennell said the prison ministry has been around since 1970. There are 32 chaplains that enter the prison facilities, and half of which are full time.

“We focus on discipleship,” he said. “Some of the chaplains are in the prison eight hours a day, from four to five days a week.”

Kennell said We Care the chaplains, with permission from the Alabama Department of Corrections, have liberty to go throughout the facilities. He added that many walk visit dorms and other areas to invite inmates to participate in the program.

According to the We Care Program’s website, the ministry teaches Biblical studies and practical life skills with an emphasis on preparing the inmates for successful re-entry into society.

Kennell said while some struggle on their re-entry, the population of prisons is dropping significantly.

“They are not dying,” he said. “They’re coming out.”

In addition to facilities around the state, the We Care Program has chaplains in facilities in Century, Fla., Santa Rosa County, Fla., and even in Ohio.

Kennell said each chaplain is self supportive, which means they must raise their own salary.

Kennell said many businesses, individuals and churches give to the general fund of We Care, which helps the program sustain.

Kennell said there is a need for teachers — We Care Program also offers educational classes to inmates — and those who are interested can contact We Care at (251) 368-8818 or visit their main office at 3493 Highway 21, Atmore, AL 36502.