- Unitarian Universalism Connection
The Gap Pack:
Can you imagine being released from the Tulsa jail at 2:00 am in the morning? No bus service runs in the middle of the night. The streets are deserted. No food is available. A Gap Pack is intended to help individuals just released from David L. Moss Correctional Facility (Tulsa County jail) in Tulsa, Oklahoma by providing basic essentials for their first 24 hours after release. It is a zip lock bag containing bottled water, snacks, socks, a thermal blanket, condoms, tampons, a map of downtown Tulsa, a notebook with a poem, pen and resources list. The packs are left on a shelf at the jail for inmates to take, if needed, as they are released.
Individuals are released from the jail at all hours of day and night. They are released in all types of weather and often with no resources, no transportation, no one to call or places to go. Sometimes they do not even have a pair of shoes to wear. Shelters may be closed or full. At times people re-offend just to have a safe place to go, or are themselves victimized when they are at their most vulnerable. For some newly released inmates people the Gap Pack is a survival pack for the first 24 hours out of jail.
In the spring of 2016 Hope Unitarian Church answers the call to partner with other organizations and churches after a successful pilot Gap Pack Program in Tulsa, OK. The Criminal Justice Outreach Committee at All Souls Unitarian Church initiated this work. Items chosen for the Gap Packs were selected based on focus groups conducted with inmates at the jail. It is estimated that 250 packs will be needed each month to continue the program.
Hope Unitarian Church:
Hope Unitarian Church will be supplying all the necessary items for 250 Gap Packs in March, 2017. This will cost $500.00. We are raising the funds through Faithify in a 30-day time limited posting. Any additional funds raised will be used for our ongoing support of the Gap Packs.
Additional Project Partners:
• All Souls Community Resource Bank
• All Souls Young Adult Program
• Planned Parenthood
• Fellowship Congregational Church
• B’Nai Emunah Synagogue
• Women in Recovery
“These packs are humanizing and make a real difference beyond the tangible benefits.” – Laurel (former inmate)
“It’s a survival bag. You leave all your old bags and trash here that you brought in with you and pick up a new bag.” – Sharon (Gap Pack recipient)
“The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is grateful to All Souls Unitarian Church for providing this service. Often times when people are released from David L Moss, they have nothing. Gap Packs provide them with important essentials, such as food, clean socks, hygiene products and bus tokens, These supplies allow them to be better prepared when they leave the jail.” – Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office
“I have taught classes in our jail and worked with those incarcerated trying to restart their lives. Making reentry successful not harder is critical to interrupting recidivism and failure.” -Rev. Cathey Edwards, Hope Unitarian Church