Meets pressing community needs by mobilizing caring New Yorkers in volunteer service.

Be A Penpal with Someone Who is Incarcerated


Be A Penpal with Someone Who is Incarcerated

Food for Children, Inc. has established a new program to provide PenPals to those who are in prison. Their mission is to share normal conversation, stories, and true friendship with those who are incarcerated; to give them a connection to society beyond prison walls. They also work to provide food, clothing, education and other assistance to the poor especially in developing nations.

WHAT: Volunteer as a PenPal Correspondent with someone who is incarcerated. Make a huge difference in his/her life. You will enrich your life as well. To volunteer, you must be at least 18 years old. Jeff’s Second Family PenPal Ministry was co-founded by Harold Jeff Morrison, an inmate of the Texas Correctional System, in partnership with Delilah Finkley Acquaah and Richard Holley, and with the assistance of Food For Children Inc. (a not-for-profit hunger relief organization located in New York City.) Jeff’s Second Family PenPal Ministry is open to all prisoners and welcomes PenPal volunteers from every walk of life who want to make a difference. Please consider devoting a few minutes, whenever possible, to correspond with someone who is in prison. Prisoners lose hope because their connections with family and friends are often broken. Jeff’s Second Family PenPal Ministry is a community of caring people who believe in second chances.

WHERE: Volunteering is done from the comfort of your own home by corresponding electronically with your PenPal, at your own pace, from either a PC or a Smart Device (Cell Phone or Tablet) using the JPay E-mail System for U.S. Correctional Facilities.

Your PenPal will send written letters back to you through the US Postal Service addressed to Jeff’s Second Family PenPal Ministry, c/o Food For Children, Inc. 70-22 165th Street, Flushing, NY 11365.

How to Register and Use the JPay Correctional System to email your PenPal:
a) Register online at: to create your account
b) Begin on the JPay Home Page where it says: Sign Up and Start Today: Find Your Incarcerated Individual.
c) Select the Prison State (from the drop-down list) and enter the Inmate’s ID#, and then click the green Next button. The next screen will show Search Results and the Inmate’s Name will appear in blue font. Click on his/her name (in blue font) to select this Inmate. Next you will be brought to The Registration Page.
d) Here you will Create Your Account by using your email address as your User Name and creating your Password. You will need this info each time you login to JPay. Check the box agreeing to their Payments Terms of Service (in order to buy JPay stamps to send email through their system; one stamp per page).
e) Write your first introductory e-mail letter to your PenPal. It could be just a quick “hello” and perhaps respond to something mentioned in their first letter to you. Please note that both your first and last names will appear on your email sent via JPay, but no other personal information will be included. The relationship with your PenPal will evolve naturally over time as you become more comfortable with each other. The main point is that the PenPal knows that he/she is not forgotten.

TO APPLY: If interested in volunteering, please email Richard Holley at or Delilah Finkley Acquaah at to begin. In the email Subject Line, please include: Jeff’s Second Family PenPal Ministry.

Once you decide to volunteer, they will scan and email you a letter from an Inmate requesting a PenPal. If you accept this Inmate as your PenPal, you will be provided with the Inmate’s Full Name, their State of Incarceration, and their Inmate ID#, in order to for you to begin corresponding with your Prison PenPal.

*This is not a New York Cares project*