By Joseph Pratt
Cancer touches every walk of life, and the inmates of the Southern Ohio Correction Facility (SOCF) showcased this at its second 5k walk/run event in which they managed to generate funds for the American Cancer Society.
Prison officials explain that this event is so successful, because it is one that inmates can rally behind, because many of them have watched a loved one or know of someone who has battled with the disease.
“Inmates are really able to get behind something with a message such as this, because they’ve known family members or friends who have been touched by cancer” SOCF’s Aaron Mummert said. “They know it goes to a good cause and they just want to help.”
The walk/run began last year for the first time and raised $300. The event went much smoother this year, with inmates eager to get involved, raising a total of $707.
“Inmates get paid a monthly salary of about $19 a month. They are assigned job duties and work assignments inside the institution and that is pretty much all they make.” Mummert said. “They make a very minimal amount each month, and to donate some of that to a charity is big, because they don’t make a lot of money as it is.”
The program was inspired by the local Relay for Life event, which is a 5k held around this same time each year.
Inmates of the SOCF often complete volunteer work while inside the prison. A program to give them the opportunity to give back and benefit the area surrounding the prison enables them to quilt for veterans, make beds for the no-kill animal shelter, grow produce for food pantries and more.
Any interested organization in town ho would like to receive assistance through this program, can contact the prison and request information from Aaron Mummert.
“These projects show the inmates that they can reach out, help, and become positive members of society, even if they are locked behind bars,” Mummert said. “These people are aware they’ve made bad decisions, but they are trying to better themselves and help in the community.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.