For Individual Volunteers, NOT Groups
Readers, Literacy Supporters & Social Justice Advocates:
Fulfill book requests for prisoners who send letters
- Tuesday 6/20/2023, 6:15-9:15pm
Sign up by 6/16/2023
~6 volunteers are still needed.
Respond to letters from prisoners across the nation who request educational, self-help, research, and other paperback books.
Volunteers read prisoners' letters; select books, sometimes conferring with other volunteers; prepare postcards and sometimes invoices; package the books with resource materials; and address the packages. Sometimes volunteers verify addresses via the internet, sort letters, record the many restrictions of prisons, etc. You will get to work at your own pace.
Optional: So that we may send out the packages immediately, volunteers are asked to contribute $10 or more for book rate postage to send packages to two prisoners. If this is a hardship, please select the waiver when you sign up online.
Quincy CenterNote: PMD only shares specific directions, maps, and other details with registered volunteers since we cannot accommodate any walk-ins, i.e., unregistered volunteers simply showing up.
Prisoners have little to no access to quality reading materials. As it is a general rule of prisons that the families and friends of prisoners cannot send books to them(!), the Prison Book Program is often their only hope of receiving quality reading materials to expand their minds, to change their own lives, and to speak out for their rights.
Volunteers are asked to contribute $10 each (optional) for book rate postage so that we may immediately send out two packages of books. If needed, you can request a waiver for financial hardship when you register.
Volunteer labor, new and gently used paperback book donations (of requested genres only), and donations for postage make this project possible.
Regardless of whether one volunteers on 6/20, anyone can help underwrite the cost of postage ($5.05 per package of books) by donating using any method listed at http://www.pmd.org/donate.phtml - Please remember to designate your gift for "postage for prison books"
PMD canNOT accept any UNregistered, walk-in volunteers.
Participation is required for the entire, 3-hour project, even if you have previously volunteered with PMD or the Prison Book Program.
If this popular project reaches maximum capacity, then interested volunteers can join the backup list, since we anticipate (and promote) cancellations in case of illness and covid-19 exposures.
For volunteers ages 16-17, a parent/guardian must also co-sign a printout of PMD's waiver/release, and for volunteers younger than age 16, a parent/guardian must also register individually and participate fully with the minor.
Call PMD if you cannot register online using qualtrics.
CALL THE PMD OFFICE at
After you register successfully, you will see a confirmation screen and receive a confirmation email message, so be sure to save the date and times on your calendars AND add Lori@pmd.org to your address/white/allow list.
Then a few days before this project PMD will email specific details in a PDF, including directions to the project site by public transit and by car, what to wear/expect, checklist, map, and release form for minors that a parent/guardian must co-sign and provide at at check-in on 6/20 -- Volunteers age 18+ provide their consent when registering online, to minimize paper/printing/contact.
WHOThis project requires being in excellent health (and living with others who are also); excellent ability to follow detailed directions; sometimes working in crowded spaces; great attention to detail; and like all PMD projects, participation for an entire project (3 hours).
This is a fragrance-free event, meaning that participants must not wear perfume or cologne, or scented skin, hair, facial, or clothing/laundry products.
Volunteers must be age 16 or older, given the prison population served, even remotely via letters. Most tasks are inappropriate for youth under 16. Many require a general knowledge of books that younger children often don’t have. In addition, data about and letters from prisoners sometimes contain comments and life stories that may be inappropriate for younger volunteers.
IF your child is age 14-15, interested in volunteering, and is a book enthusiast, s/he is welcome but must be accompanied by a separately registered and fully participating adult. In addition, a parent/guardian must co-sign and complete the waiver release form, which includes providing a phone# where s/he can be reached in case of emergency if not accompanying.
Parents/guardians registering youth under age 16 should enter the youth's age as 16 when registering online, but enter the youth's true age as a Comment at the end.
For 30+ years, public charity People Making a Difference (PMD) has promoted informed and responsible volunteerism by involving people in tangible work that meets local needs and by assisting companies in building successful community involvement programs that:
- Produce appreciable results while conserving recipients' limited resources.
- Educate volunteers about broader issues.
- Bring people together to make a difference.
A Prisoner From Ohio:
"As someone who could neither read nor write 6 years ago when I first came to prison, I have programs like yours, which sent me my first dictionary, to thank for my ability to be writing this letter. I can't thank you enough!"
Former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger:
"We must accept the reality that to confine offenders behind walls without trying to change them is an expensive folly with short term benefits - winning battles while losing the war."
From an inmate requesting humanities textbooks for a study group:
"We have a craving for learning and to become better citizens once we are released to society."
An inmate in Safford, AZ, who wrote to the Prison Book Program:
"There are no words that can describe the feeling an inmate gets when he realizes someone on the outside cares enough about him to send him some reading material. It's organizations like yours that give us inmates hope and inspiration to become better people by reaching out to others in need."