Local Agencies Help Prison Minister In Need
JEFFERSON CITY - She spent three decades getting to know some of Missouri's most dangerous men, took in countless homeless people, and now Darlene Allen is seeing the same kindness she once gave come back around.
Allen spent thirty years as a prison minister. Yet she says she was never scared being within the same walls as murders. She says, "In fact, I was more scared outside the prison one night than I ever am inside."
She says that many people write off prisoners as horrible people, but she saw every convicted man as human, and remembered they were somebody else's son. She says many people forget this, "They don't realize till it comes to them, and it's their son. Like I have met mothers and fathers who have come to visit their son or daughter for the first time. Their hearts and their lives are crushed, they think it couldn't be them, but it can be anyone.
Allens days of ministry are behind her. Diabetes has made her an amputee, torn rotator cuffs give her limited movement, and she is dependent on a wheelchair. However, she is not alone.
Homemaker Health Care works with United Way to help fund in-home nursing to women like Allen. "We provide in-home services to Medicaid clients helping them with housekeeping, personal care, also providing nursing care, setting up some medications, those kind of things. Then we also have the outreach program that is funded by United Way," says Mary Zeilman a spokesperson for Homemaker Health Care.
The outreach program loans out medical equipment to patients. There are also volunteers that drive patients to and from doctors appointments.
Zeilman says, "I dont' think she's ever known a stranger, and now as she is older, and her health is not as good as it used to be, now it's time for the United Way agencies to help her out."
Homemaker Health Care is coming through for Darlene, she says she is thankful for them.
Although Allen can no longer physically go to the prisons, she her ministry is not done. She has written a book entitled, "Prison Miracles", which she says she hopes will help people see prisoners in a more positive light.