Tithing inmates prove generous

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A tithing program started five years ago at a Central California prison has netted more than $4,500 for disaster relief, water wells and child sponsorships.

The tithes are generated from in-prison work at Soledad Prison that pays the inmates from $27 to 36 a month.

According to Today's Pentecostal Evangel magazine, the program was started by Prison Chaplain Judge Lindsey, an Assemblies of God preacher.

To date, prisoners gave $1,300 to victims of the 2004 tsunami in Asia, $1,000 to Hurricane Katrina aid in 2005 and $1,000 for African water wells. They are also contributing $1,200 annually to sponsor three underprivileged children in Third World countries.

The money comes from the hard-earned tithes of inmates — those about to be released to those serving life terms — at the Soledad prison. Those behind bars earn between $27 and $36 a month.

"Little is much when God is in it," Lindsey told the magazine. "Here are men with small salaries, yet they are committed givers."

In one instance, 160 inmates attending three chapels at the prison, located in Monterey County opened their wallets after seeing a four-minute video of Africa Oasis Project, an AG World Missions program.