DOWNTOWN — It took just one day for a Chicago group to collect enough candy for incarcerated moms and their children to celebrate Halloween.
The group, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, announced on Tuesday that it was collecting bags of individually wrapped candy that it would use during a trick-or-treat event at the Logan Correctional Center downstate. Chicagoans responded by sending or pledging to send enough candy to meet Moms United’s goal — and then some — by Wednesday.
Of the women incarcerated at Logan, 40 percent were arrested in Cook County, and 80 percent are moms.
“I think we’re gonna be flush with candy,” said Holly Krig, an organizer with Moms United. “It’s wonderful to see people be so generous.”
Kris wasn’t able to say how much candy will be given to the group once all the pledges are in, but she said dozens of people have contacted her and expects more will have just shipped candy directly to Moms United. The collection was wildly successful because people like Eve Ewing, a Chicago-based author and activist, tweeted about Moms United’s goal, Krig said.
The candy will be used as part of an Oct. 20 event organized by Moms United so mothers in prison can stay close with their children. Moms United will bring about 40 kids and their caregivers to the prison and set up candy stations around an auditorium. Moms will be able to walk around the stations with their kids and trick-or-treat as caregivers pass out candy.
The visits help incarcerated moms connect with their children and enjoy simple pleasures like celebrating Halloween and collecting candy, Krig said.
Trick-or-treating “shouldn’t be something that’s exceptional,” Krig said. “People should be able to enjoy holidays and do all the things that people who are not incarcerated can do with their families.”
Moms United organizes the trick-or-treating event and other visits for free.
The group also collects toys for moms to give to their kids at Christmas, and it will start that crowd funding campaign about a week before Thanksgiving, Krig said. And Moms United will start fundraising in December so it can take kids on trips to the prison to their mothers, with Krig noting that program, called Reunification Rides, faces increasing demand.
Moms United’s crowd funding campaigns help the organization provide special events and visits for moms and their families, and they also serve as an “invitation” to people, Krig said: People see Moms United needs help and end up thinking about how they can create and participate in a community where people help each other without prison.
“We also let people know that what we all need to be working toward is a world where we’re not responding to struggle and to trauma by locking people up and by separating families,” Krig said. “What we need to be doing is working toward a world where we are offering resources and support freely.”
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