Cover Story

Stamped Out

"Stamped Out" Continued...

Issue: "Faith-based about-face," Aug. 27, 2005

When men in the unit are released from prison, Ms. Haaland encourages them to enter one of the Teen Challenge centers in Massachusetts. That's what Michael Plant hopes to do if he is paroled this month. Mr. Plant, 37, sporting a neat haircut and a khaki prison uniform, has been in the county jail's Teen Challenge unit for six months and says, "I've experienced more growth here than in all my time in prison combined. . . . I feel more productive, more real." Mr. Plant says he's learned what it takes to keep his commitment to Christ and to his family, and he plans to enter Teen Challenge Brockton to complete his recovery when he's released: "With all my heart, if they told me I could go home today, I'd go straight to Brockton."

Back in Brockton, Mr. Hart is working with Bob Woodson of the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, who fought for Teen Challenge during the Texas controversy in 1995. Mr. Woodson has asked the White House for a meeting with the Secretary of Agriculture to discuss what he calls the agency's "hostile" actions toward faith-based groups. If that meeting doesn't materialize, Mr. Woodson and Teen Challenge leaders plan to stage a protest rally in the capital next month. Teen Challenge supporters will also be seeing if Jim Towey, head of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, can help.

In the meantime, the USDA continues a national advertising campaign to drum up takers for the federal food stamp program. The agency's Food Stamp Outreach Coalition laments that "only 62 percent of the people eligible for food stamps actually receive them," and that in 2001 "about $6 billion available to fight hunger and improve nutrition was lost" because not enough people signed up for the program.

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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