Learn About HopeMail

  • Subscribe Someone To HopeMail
  • What Is A Hope Note
  • Hope Note Writer Application
  • Hope Writer Guidelines
  • Note Sample
  • What Is A Hope Note?

    HopeMail Logo FinalImagine living 23-hours a day in a cement cell, never receiving any personal communication from the outside world. Or, living in a dorm unit where your name is never mentioned at mail call? It would be easy to forget you matter to anyone, but especially to God. While HopeMail does a good job of reaching incarcerated men and women with an eclectic mix of ministry, inspiration, and amusement, Hope Notes are the personal touch that "kick it up a notch."
    When we started HopeMail, Doug asked an early subscriber what he thought about our mailing. He answered honestly: "It's good—the contents are all nice—but it's generic. There's nothing personal." At the time, we had fewer than a dozen subscribers, so Doug set about writing a note to each one. Very quickly, he realized we were going to need helpers. So, we reached out to local churches and asked for volunteers. One member of the church would serve as coordinator, and she or he would recruit volunteers and let Caroline know how many notes their group could write each month. She would give them a list of names, first and last initial, and deadline. The coordinator would then mail or drop-off the completed notes. That system worked very well, until the pandemic.

    In March 2020, we realized we were going to have to make some changes. No longer were groups gathering. Notes could not be collected by one person. So, volunteers began mailing their notes directly to us. When we saw how well that worked, we realized that Hope Writers could write from anywhere in the country. They no long- er had to be from local churches. We also realized that if coordinators weren't mandatory, individuals could now volunteer independently. These were really exciting discoveries that have had a great impact on the ministry.

    So, what is a Hope Note? It's a short note, usually 50-100 words, written by a volunteer to an incarcerated man or woman. The notes are addressed to a particular person, first name and last initial, so that we can be sure they receive their own note.

    Now, towards the end of 2020 the U.S. Post Office started cracking down on postage usage, and we received a very grim piece of news: HopeMail weighed too much! We had to make several changes in our content, to keep the weight of each mailing to not more than 1.1 ounce. This is when we had to crack down on the paper Hope Writers were using. It is why we provide the notepads, because every fraction of an ounce matters. In fact, it matters so much we weigh each envelope before it is sealed and stamped! If an individual would like to buy the paper themselves and spare NBF that expense, it's no secret what we use: white, 5 X 8-inch, ruled, 16- pound, Amazon Basics note pads. You will receive a box of 12 pads, 50-sheets each. So, it's a lot of note pads for most people. Of course, that might inspire a person to recruit 11 friends to join them in this wonderful effort!

    Thank you for your interest in HopeMail. If writing notes isn't your thing, maybe you would be willing to keep this outreach in prayer? We are also always happy to receive a book of Forever stamps. And, even more than stamps, we are always excited to receive a new subscriber! If you hear of anyone in your area, or anywhere in the USA, who has been incarcerated, please sign them up to receive HOPE in the mail! It is free and anonymous— they will never know you subscribed them. Golly, we won't even know! Just fill in as much information as you can—at least their full name and the state where they are incarcerated.

    Thank you again and God bless you!
    Caroline Gregan - HopeMail Editor
  • Become A Hope Note Writer!

  • Hope Writer Guidelines

    HM DarkBackgroundPrisonBars
     Hope Writer Guidelines
    This list of Hope Writer Guidelines is based on guidelines we've received from correctional facilities. Thank you.
    Return notes to your HopeMail Coordinator or to:
    Caroline Gregan
    12 Moulton Street Georgetown, MA 01833
    1. Use black ink only. No markers, crayons, colored pens or pencils.
    2. Use the provided HopeMail paper only.
    3. Pray first for the one you are writing.
    4. Write as neatly as possible.
    5. Use the subscriber’s (inmate’s) name and last initial. We have many with the same first name.
    6. Encourage the recipient in theLord. Lead them to God.
    7. Share a Bible verse. Write out verse because the subscriber may not have a Bible.
    8. Assume the subscriber is a Christian.
    9. Share testimonies of your faith and trust in God.
    10. Sign notes with your first initial, first name, pseudonym, HopeMail Friend, or Brother/Sister in Christ.
    11. Fold note in half and write the subscriber’s (first name and last initial) at the top of the fold.
    12. DO NOT use correction fluid, like Wite-Out. Draw a line through mistakes, or use a new sheet of paper.
    13. DO NOT share personal information: church name, residential location, job, age, family details, vacation plans, etc.
    14. DO NOT discuss anything sensitive or triggering: money, relationships, health, politics, current events, entertainment, etc.
    15. DO NOT ask any questions, because they cannot respond to you.
  • Sample Note