Established in 2021, Re-Entry Support Services (RESS) has been a vital resource for our incarcerated residents returning into the community. For those who are not familiar with the re-entry process, there are challenges that the incarcerated will encounter. Most often these are housing and employment.
The purpose of RESS is to support their initial efforts. It intercepts the residents who are being released from the detention center and into the community. By providing a backpack of basic toiletries, it is the first step to regaining their dignity.
This is especially true for residents who have been incarcerated for longer periods of time. More often, those residents leave without the necessities or resources to successfully transition back into the community. The following are testimonials provided by the release post sergeant:
“The last two individuals we came across were homeless and we saw the need to hand them one of the bigger bags. The last person was so touched he broke down and cried, I also gave out two meal tickets because this person had two of our lunch bags walking out of the door and stated, “They didn’t know when or where they would get their next meal.”
“It’s human compassion and care for the needs of those leaving our facility, which moved us and made us do what we did. The RESS Programs represents this type of love and empathy for the well-being of those leaving out of our doors. While everyone graciously said thank you for the bags, these two had a different thank you that ended up with watery eyes.”
Our residents know that we care and encourage them. We want them to succeed once they have left our facility, but when they see that outside communities, business, faith organizations and individuals get together to support them, it sends an even more impactful message. The “backpack” donations make this possible. RESS is on ongoing program. We are asking people, churches, business’ & organizations to continue donate basic toiletries items and more.
Volunteering with RESS
We are looking for friendly and outgoing volunteers who can staff the RESS help desk. Job responsibilities include greeting residents and visitors. This also includes offering RESS backpacks to leaving residents. At the RESS desk, we also provide sources of information that include employment, housing, transportation, mental health treatment, addiction, and recovery services.
Please note, RESS does not operate during the weekends or nights. If you would like to volunteer, please complete the Volunteer Background Screening Form. Once done, please forward the form to Brenda.Rubiano@mecklenburgcountync.gov. You can also call 980-314-5172.
RESS is more than a backpack, we are always in need of continued support, for more information about other initiatives and the types of donations accepted, please contact Chaplain Fatima Gonzalez 980-314-5465, Fatima.Gonzalez@mecklenburgcountync.gov.