JoAnn Cash-Owens is a pioneer in the re-entry arena. She Knows first-hand the struggles that come with having a criminal conviction and the efforts required to reunify with the family after release. JoAnn is committed to decreasing the stigma often associated with individuals who have suffered from incarceration.
JoAnn has been involved for more than 20 years with families impacted by the criminal justice system. Since 2011, she, with the assistance of her volunteers and ministry partners, has been responsible for donating over 500,000 bars of antibacterial soap, each with a scripture attached, to women and men incarcerated in prisons throughout the state of Georgia. Inmates affectionally call her “Soap Momma. She also works tirelessly to ensure that Returning Citizens have access to community support systems and resources.
JoAnn is also the author of Comfortable Being Ignorant While
Surviving the Journey.
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This book tells the incredible story of a woman who was convicted of a
crime she did not commit. After being incarcerated for 1032 days, JoAnn F.
Cash gives a riveting account of her assignment from God. She tells how
she survived this journey in a world that was totally foreign to
anything she had ever experienced. Only because of her trust in God was
she… Comfortable Being Ignorant While Surviving the Journey.
In Her Own Words
I pray that you are staying safe!!! Let’s make a commitment to strive to become a “better person” than we were before our world was turned upside down by the Pandemic. We know that GOD is in control!!!!
Just before I walked out of Washington State Prison, 22 years ago, I left a farewell letter on the bulletin board promising the ladies that I would not forget about them. I also said that I would come back to see them, but I would be wearing “my own clothes”,
Initially Family Unification Network, Inc. (F.U.N.,) a 501 (c) (3) non-profit ministry, provided inmates packages at Christmas. This started during my incarceration when I met ladies who no longer received support from family or any other resource. I contacted my personal friends back home and they were instrumental in providing 26 inmates Christmas packages during my 1032 days of incarceration. One of the ladies who received a Christmas package had not received one in 17 years.
After my release, when I received package slips from Chaplains, F,U,N,, with the help of our volunteers, adopted inmates and fulfilled the Christmas Wish Lists for 152 ladies. The average Christmas package donated held items (cookies, candy, hygiene products, socks, combs, etc.) worth $65.00.
After ten years of providing Christmas packages when the economy was in crisis and budgets were cut, F.U N. was told that we could no longer donate the packages because the prison no longer had adequate staff to check packages for contraband. I asked what else could we do and was told of the need for antibacterial soap because the “prison” soap was harsh and lacked the moisturizing ingredients that reduced facial dryness and irritation. I personally remember it well ….
For the past 12 years, F.U.N. has provided Dial soap for the women and men incarcerated in prisons throughout the state of Georgia. We are blessed that our mainstay has been our partnership with Maximum Impact Love (CKS Packaging), First Corinth Missionary Baptist Church, the Masons, the Eastern Stars of Smooth Ashlar Grand Lodge and the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia which is comprised of 600+ churches statewide.
These churches and chapters collected soap from their members and donated it to F.U.N. for our Annual Prison Soap Drive. Our volunteers then scheduled “packing parties” where we use a mailing label and paste a scripture on each bar of soap. In the past, the project was called the Dial soap Drive.
To date, F.U.N. has donated more than a half million bath size bars of Dial soap to 24 of Georgia’s 33 prisons – each bar bearing a scripture to encourage and empower inmates. After the soap has been prayed over and labeled, Prison Chaplains are notified, and they come pick it up and take it back to the inmates.
Last year F.U.N. added Safeguard soap to the Dial soap and it is now called the “Prison Soap Drive”. Our goal is to donate 55,000 bars of antibacterial soap to inmates. The Coronavirus has haunted our efforts to collect soap because church congregations no longer meet nor do the Lodge chapters have their meetings.
We all know, first-hand, the disruption that has been caused by this Pandemic. The experts recommend that to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we should wash our hands, wear a mask, and practice social distancing, But inmates are limited in what they can do to protect themselves and others, They are in prison and in many cases cannot wear masks nor practice social distancing.
Your donations will make it possible so that they can at least wash their hands. Your assistance will help me keep my promise that I would not forget about them while they live behind the walls. Yes, they may be gone but they are not forgotten.
Please visit our website at www.familyunificationnework.org and click the Donate button. You can also use CashApp: $Familyunification or mail a check or money order to F.U.N., P.O.B. 3, Union City, GA. 30291.
THANK YOU very much for your assistance.
Family Unification Network, Inc.