Garage sale Saturday will benefit Sistas of the Hood

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Linda Barker, in yellow Sistas of the Hood T-shirt, loading up the car with supplies for women prisoners.

What one person doesn’t need, another can use. You may find some treasures at Sistas of the Hood’s yard sale this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the old Harris Bank parking lot at North and Linder avenues.

The group is raising money to send supplies and books to the 70-some women serving life sentences at Dwight Correctional Center as part of the project U R Not 4 Gotten.

Linda Barker loads supplies that have been collected for for women serving time in prison.

Linda Barker started Sistas of the Hood in 2003, a year after she retired from the Illinois Department of Public Aid (now the Illinois Healthcare and Family Services), because she saw an overwhelming need to help women in prison and as they came out.

“We are a faith-based community action group. We have some ministers, people of different ethnic groups and faiths, some recovering addicts and ex-offenders a mixture of all.”

As part of the U R Not 4 Gotten project, Sistas sends the prisoners toiletries, books and journals to write in.

“We’re trying to motivate them, because Sistas has worked with some who had life sentences but ended up getting out of prison. And we want to help them readjust. You know, man doesn’t have the last say. God has the last say to everything that’s in divine order,” Barker said.

“The Bible says this will work, even if you only have faith the size of a mustard seed. We have to tap into this faith. A lot of the women have given up, and we want to help them see that all things are possible.”

Five members of Sistas of the Hood gather outside Loretto Hospital where they caught a bus to visit Dwight Correctional Center. From left: Eulanda Banks-Rosenthal, Darlene Burnett, Hollie Sumo, Laverne Tyler and Rose Daniels.

Sistas of the Hood’s helps the “lifers” as well as former prisoners returning to society That assistance includes finding clothing, food, medical care and/or housing for the women, and offering workshops in basic life skills and financial literacy, domestic violence and substance abuse education, anger management, recovery coaching and HIV/AIDs awareness.

The women are also offered training, job preparation and assistance in searching for a job, including a year-long follow up. Sista’s collects donated business suits and other outfits, too.

Barker said she’s thankful for the help the group has received, especially from the Rev. Virgil Brackett of Rhema Word Church, 5460 W. Ohio St., with the group’s projects, including Saturday’s yard sale.

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