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Mount Clemens

January 23, 2013

CARE seeks winter coats for prisoner re-entry program

By Julie Snyder
C & G Staff Writer

MOUNT CLEMENS — One official from CARE of Southeast Michigan is stressing the importance winter coats play in the survival and ultimate success of former Macomb County prisoners who are re-entering society.

Monique Stanton, executive director of CARE, said in addition to other housing services offered to these men and women through the Macomb Prisoner Re-entry Advisory Council, the annual winter coat drive provides a warm welcome back to civilization.

“There are programs out there to help these men and women find housing and employment, and these coats are very much needed to help them with that, as well,” she said.

Donations of men’s and women’s coats will continue through Feb. 15. Gently used or new winter coats of all kinds will be accepted, and Stanton said there is a specific need for larger men’s coats.

CARE (Community Assessment Referral and Education) is a nonprofit organization that, since 1977, has served as a referral agency for uninsured or Medicaid-eligible individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, in addition to providing support services for parents, children and other adults through several programs.

It also works closely with the prisoner re-entry program.

Stanton said the program has been very successful in providing support services to parolees to make their transition to freedom easier and reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

The program takes place within the Macomb Regional Correctional Facility and at its transitional housing, and it focuses on skill-building, positive relationships and managing anger.

Stanton said last year’s drive was a considerable success, bringing in 200 coats.

“And all of them were given away,” she said. If there are additional coats, Stanton said they are donated to local charitable organizations.

“The (Macomb Prisoner Re-entry) advisory council typically sponsors this coat drive right after Christmas, when people are cleaning out their closets,” she said

The advisory council is made up of concerned citizens and members of faith-based organizations. The council also hosts a donation drive in the spring to make goody bags for former offenders moving into their own place right out of prison. The goody bags are comprised of home essentials, like a shower curtain, garbage cans, garbage-can liners and the like.

Winter-coat donations can be dropped off at CARE of Southeastern Michigan, 31900 Utica Road in Fraser, or at the Prisoner Re-entry-Clemens Center, 18 A Market Street in Mount Clemens. Organizations or congregations that hosted private drives and need to make pick-up arrangements are asked to call (586) 541-0033, extension 210.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Julie Snyder at jsnyder@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1039.