Mark Renick helps deliver Christmas cookies to incarcerated people in Idaho

December 21, 2023

“The inmates in the Idaho Maximum Security Institution spend 23 hours a day locked in a cell. A visitor of any sort — even a new face — has the potential to be a highlight of any given day.

“It’s no surprise ‘cookie day’ would be marked on their calendars if they had them. …

[The cookies] show the community … hasn’t forgotten about us.

“[Chaplain Dave] Browning spent more than a decade paying weekly visits to the prison. He bonded with many inmates after the cookies served a proper introduction. That bond includes former inmate Mark Renick [Leading with Conviction™ 2018], who Browning offered a job after his release 13 years ago.

“‘In retrospect, it was huge,’ Renick said. ‘That transition from incarceration to community is a difficult one, and it’s something that we need to pay attention to as a community.’

“Renick, now working with St. Vincent de Paul, pays that same favor forward by providing transitional services to current inmates after their release. The support includes clothes, food, a bus pass, among other services.

“‘[The cookies] show the community cares about us. It hasn’t forgotten about us,’ Renick said. ‘They’re all residents that are gonna return to community. And people like [Browning] have to hire people like me and make that transition. So, it’s very powerful.’

“Volunteers handed out 145,000 cookies in total.”

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