Kia ora penpals and supporters!
This year, we’re holding our sixth annual Holiday Card Drive! We’ll be sending holiday cards to hundreds of incarcerated people all across Aotearoa. Christmas can be a very dark time in prison, and receiving a holiday card can make a world of difference.
As a community-led, volunteer-run organisation, we rely on the support of ordinary people to get this important mahi done. We don’t have big donors or government grants, but we do have the support of our incredible community.
We expect to send around 2,500 cards to 500 people in prison this year, with our projected running costs for 2022 looking to be around $6,000. Producing and posting cards to this many people costs a lot of money, so we rely on your support to ensure that these costs are covered. We will also be supporting the efforts of community coordinators all around the motu with financial assistance for venue hire and kai.
Every dollar counts, so please help us to run this important project.
Thanks from last year’s recipients
Every year we receive thank you messages from the recipients of our holiday cards, which clearly show how much of an impact the Holiday Card Drive has on incarcerated people who otherwise may not hear from anyone over Christmas. Here are some of the messages we received after last year’s drive:
I would like to send a massive thanks in regards to an envelope I got today with Christmas cards from the public and a nice letter from the PCN team. This was a nice surprise and super thoughtful and as being in prison at this time of year and not being at home with family it’s nice to get cards and letters as I texting and calling for granted on the outside. It took for me to become incarcerated to realise how much we take things for granted and how a simple letter can mean so much and lighten up someone’s day as this has for me =).
Thank you for your thoughtful cards. They arrived on a bad day for me. Christmas is always depressing for me. I’ve seen 21 of them in here. I don’t suppose my family will send cards. They seem to have forgotten me at last. My ex-wife (remarried) likes to write. I had made up my mind to not write to her anymore but I wimped out. I miss my grandchildren (and great grandchildren). I’m 74. Two of my siblings have died. A sister is probably dying now of M.N.D. Your efforts to find me correspondents is much appreciated. Snail mail is my only link to the outside world now.
As Christmas is fast approaching I thought I would take this chance to wish everyone at the PCN a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
I have spent 17 months in custody so far and thanks to the pen pal network I have really come a long way in confidence, humility, as well as maintaining positive thinking and finding happiness in negative spaces.
Christmas is such a hard time to be in prison. Even more so when I am innocent of the crimes I’m accused of. Thank you for helping the men in prison who don’t have any family support networks.
It’s Ben here. I would just like to thank everyone who sent me a card for Christmas.
For years my cell has been bland, dull and depressing. Until today. I received some cards that brightened my cell and life up. So thanks to all who sent me an xmas card, Etta, Holly, Henri, Bronwen and John and one with no name (tui on). Thank you all for being a light in a very dark tunnel. It’s nice to know someone still cares. I hope all your dreams and wishes come true next year. Best wishes and happy xmas and new year.
P.S Thanks to PCN for making me feel human again! Xxxooo
I would personally like to thank each and every one of you for what you do for every inmate that you help. Without people such as yourselves many of us would really struggle to make connections with people again. The ability that you have to help with making those connections enables many of us to then receive perspectives from such a wide variety of people. Many of whom some of us might just walk past in the street and never bat an eyelid at. It helps knowing that when we develop those friendships through writing, that the person receiving the letters is not judging us for what we have done. They are actually wanting to help us. Helping us to trust in people again.
You’re also welcome to write holiday cards to people in prison. If you would like to send cards, please post them to PO Box 5870, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142 before 1st December 2022. A list of names to address cards to will be available upon request in mid-November, but you can also address them vaguely (e.g. Kia ora e hoa ma, Dear friend, etc) so they can be sent to anyone.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We are unable to accept cards that have been glued together as some prisons refuse to hand on cards that have things glued to them. So if you make homemade cards, by all means make something incredible and creative, but just don’t stick anything to them!
This year, we will be holding four official card-writing events, as well as a number of community-led working bees all around the motu. These working bees will be an opportunity for people to come together, write holiday cards, kōrero and learn more about the negative impacts of prison, and meet other cool folks in their communities. Here’s the details:
Sunday 4 December, Old Folks’ Association, 8 Gundry St, Auckland CBD, 10AM to 4PM
Saturday 26 November, Newtown Community Centre, Level 2, 2A Green St, 11AM to 3PM
Sunday 27 November, Riccarton Community Centre, 199 Clarence St, 10:30AM to 3PM
Saturday 26 November, Otago Women’s Pioneer Hall, 362 Moray Place, 1PM to 3PM
- Holiday Card Drive at New Lynn Library, Saturday 19 November, 3 Memorial Drive, New Lynn, 10AM to 3PM
- Timebank Tuesday: Making Creative Connections, Tuesday 22 November, Gribblehurst Community Hub, 5 Cabbage Tree, Swamp Drive, 6:30PM to 8:30PM
- Write holiday cards to prisoners! (Hamilton), Tuesday 29 November, Ethos Cafe, 100 Morrinsville Rd, Hamilton, 4:30PM to 7PM
- Christmas card collage workshop, Tuesday 6 December, Newtown Community Centre, Level 2, 2A Green St, 6PM to 8PM
We’re also inviting people to nominate their friends and whānau in New Zealand prisons to receive cards. If you know someone inside and you think they would appreciate some season’s greetings, please fill out this form and we will add them to our list of people to receive cards:
PCN is run and funded by People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA). Funds raised for PCN will be held by PAPA and will only be used for PCN purposes.