Carefully curated by Anne Dolan and the wonderful congregation at All Souls Anglican Church, toiletry packs are putting a literal twist on Pathway’s tagline of saying yes to ‘fresh’ starts.
Packs filled with soap, face cloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, deodorant and hair care are making a very real difference to the Tū Ora, as they look to rebuild their lives on the outside. It’s simple, but powerful!
Close to 200 of them have been given out since the project kicked off after the reintegration team discovered the men they were working with often felt like they were carrying the stigma of prison with them on release.
“Really early on in our reintegration service, a client commented ‘I feel like people just look at me and know where I’ve come from, I feel like I even smell like prison’,” Pathway Support Services Coordinator Renee Jones says.
“We want people on release to feel like they are putting the prison persona down and re-establishing an identity that leaves those cycles in the past for good. Feeling positive about your presentation is an easy place to start. Day one back in the community showering and brushing your teeth should be a minimum standard that everyone is entitled to and we ensure that is the case.”
Anne calls upon members of the congregation to come together and donate when stocks are getting low, bringing a massive box of stuff in for Renee, who makes up the packs for the Tū Ora.
Anne is one of the almost 200 volunteers who support the work of Pathway and Renee describes her as a “legend” who has been volunteering around the prison scene for a very long time.