Volunteers from a Chilliwack thrift store prepared a slew of gift bags for men incarcerated at Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village in Chehalis.
The volunteer group from Hidden Treasures Thrift Store provided food, snacks and other treats for each bag, topped off with a Christmas Card. Elder Pascal Adam and his wife, Herta, delivered the bags on Wednesday, Dec. 15.
Before COVID-19 hit, inmates from Kwìkwèxwelhp would volunteer at Hidden Treasures while on escorted temporary absence, working along community volunteers and store staff. However, this program had to be put on hold as of last March.
“Last Christmas, I asked (Correctional Service of Canada) staff if we could send gift bags to the guys,” said Elaine Warkentin, the store’s manager. “They said yes, so we gathered a few volunteers and prepared the bags. It’s a way to remind them that we are thinking of them.”
Elder Pascal added the gift bags were a way of saying “thank you.”
“We are always happy to help them out,” Pascal said. “When they are able, they come and help us with whatever needs to be done.”
Elder Pascal regularly visits incarcerated men in Kwìkwèxwelhp and in other prisons and halfway houses across the Fraser Valley as part of his work for the M2/W2 Association Restorative Christian Ministries. M2/W2 is a non-profit that operates Hidden Treasures in Chilliwack and Abbotsford and other mentorship and practical support programs to those who are incarcerated or on parole.
Proceeds from the stores fund a variety of M2/W2 programs, including No One Leaves Alone, which assists former inmates with reintegrating into the community.
“We look forward to resuming our ETA program with Kwìkwèxwelhp in the near future,” said Glenn Burchart, program director at M2/W2 Association. “Until then, I’m glad that Elder Pascal is able to visit there. I’m also grateful to the volunteers who took the time to put together the gift bags and share a little Christmas cheer.”