Veronica Martinez: Sharing her PeliPALS experience.

I cannot begin to express my gratitude and am beyond thankful for your service. I’m a single mom and my children are young. I was able to set up my PeliPALS account and it was a breeze. My daughters uploaded their pictures and it’d be here in a matter of days. The fact that my daughter didn’t have to “bother” our family to get a ride and pay for printed pictures. It was a relief on both our ends. She enjoyed it because she was able to add captions. Helping me meet new members of family I’ve missed. Yet making me feel a part of with a simple picture. So thank you so much for that.

I treasure those pictures dearly and close to my heart. I’ve put them on my bunk so I wake up to see them, the sights of nature that bring me peace. Reminding me, I’m closer to that freedom and my babies. I go to bed and look up at all the pictures and know that I’ll wake up to see those smiles of the ones I love most and who love me as well. Hearing from my children via calls, emails, video visit, and pictures help me and make me so happy. The fact it’s so simple for them to upload and send pictures make it all worth it. Especially when my mom struggles with English and apps. Again, thank you so much!

My daughters enjoy but no more than I when I hear my name and see Pelipost knowing I’m receiving pictures. This helps relieve a burden from my busy family raising my children. Something so small can contribute but be a part of the family still. Thank you so much! I highly recommend your service. We will continue to use your service once I’m released because my fiancé will be happy to receive weekly and monthly pictures. Thank you so much! I’d rate you 5 stars online but til then this will do.

Sincerely,

A very happy mom!

Veronica Martinez

Use a Prison Catalog to Send a Gift to Your Incarcerated Loved One

As people, we send gifts to loved ones for birthdays, holidays, or just to show that we care. However, due to the rules and regulations of what inmates are allowed to receive in the mail, gift-giving is not the same. But did you know you can buy gifts for your incarcerated loved ones through approved catalogs? These catalogs can include anything from food, clothing, and other items that are approved to send to your incarcerated loved one. Many of these care packages can be ordered online and shipped to your incarcerated loved one’s facility. We have listed a few care package resources below. Just as a reminder, always check your loved one’s specific facility for their rules and regulations. 

Access Securepak:

Access Securepak allows family members and friends to send packages to inmates. This company was developed to eliminate contraband and greatly reduce the time and labor required to process packages. You can create an account and purchase a care package from them here: https://www.accesscatalog.com/index.html?PageID=8 

Union Supply Group:

Union Supply Group offers inmate and family package programs for either state-wide agencies or individual facilities. Union Supply Group uses the entire range of products offered by Union Supply Company and Food Express USA to create completely customized programs. To purchase, visit: https://www.unionsupply.com/sp_union_supply_direct.aspx 

Jack L. Marcus Company:

The Jack L. Marcus Company offers care packages to send to incarcerated individuals in select states. These states include California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. To send a gift from their catalog, go to: https://jlmarcuscatalog.com 

iCare:

iCare offers snack packages that friends and family can send to their incarcerated loved ones to show them how much they care. From salty to sweet, they have the perfect package to send your loved one a treat. Send your loved one a snack pack here: https://shop.icaregifts.com/shop 

Inmate Care Packages:

Inmate Care Packages offers a wide range of options to send to your incarcerated loved one. The categories for their bundles include Food, Clothing & Apparel, Personal Care, Books/Magazines, Electronics & Accessories, and even inmate phone plans. You can find their care packages here: https://www.inmate-packages.com 

Pelipost: 

Through Pelipost, you can send photos to your incarcerated loved one. Photos are a tangible token of your love that your loved one can physically hold and cherish. Photos mean so much to incarcerated individuals, and help you to keep in contact with them. 

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Bobby Bostic: PeliPALS Story

To Becky Calderon and Team at Pelipost, 

I am Bobby Bostic and I was sentenced to die in prison at 16 years old. In 1995, an older man and I committed the robbery of two people who were in a crowd of five people, and committed another robbery of a single individual thirty minutes later a few blocks away. No one was seriously injured in these crimes. The judge at my sentencing hearing pronounced: 

“Bobby Bostic, you will die in the Department of Corrections. You do not go to see the parole board until 2201, and nobody in this courtroom will be alive in the year 2201.”

I have been in prison since 1994 (over 25 years now) and I have rehabilitated myself. I have completed several college courses from Missouri State University. I obtained my Associate of Science degree from Adams State University in the spring of 2020, and now I am only 30 credits from obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. I have completed over thirty prison rehabilitation classes and programs. In addition to this, I have written five non-fiction books and eight poetry books. I also have the blueprints for several nonprofit organizations for troubled teens, and a charity that I will establish soon. Furthermore, I have many more goals that I am currently pursuing. 

I want to thank each and everyone of you for hearing my story and trying to help me. I am also doing what I can to help others. It is a struggle but we are claiming victory. If we keep saying “struggle” it will remain just that, but words can have power. 

Becky, you have lived it so you know this struggle, but you saw victory. Each photo that Pelipost sends to an inmate is a victory. Pictures mean so much to us in prison. So to the Pelipost team: all inmates in America thank you for giving us victory by each picture that you send us. Those pictures are a light in a dark prison. Each picture brings us hope, each picture makes us stronger, each picture lets us know what we are missing in the world and with our loved ones. Each picture offers us power against oppression, each picture that Pelipost sends to us prisoners gives us victory. 

Victory Over This Struggle,

Bobby Bostic 

How to Stay Positive in Jail

The period of incarceration can be a scary, confusing, and lonely time for your loved one. Removing a person from society and stripping them of their normal lives and responsibilities can greatly alter an incarcerated person’s outlook on life, and can even affect their brain chemistry. In fact, 37% of people in state and federal prisons have been diagnosed with a mental illness, along with many others who simply struggle with keeping a positive mindset. To help your incarcerated loved one make it through this difficult period with high spirits, you can send along our tips for how to stay positive in jail. 

Focus on Yourself

While incarcerated, it can be difficult not to succumb to distractions, like the actions and opinions of others. Remind your incarcerated loved one that they should not worry about others and to focus on themselves. Goal setting, staying focused, and working on personal growth will help your incarcerated loved one keep their head up and not succumb to the negativity of others. 

Educate Yourself

An excellent way for your incarcerated loved one to work on themselves and keep a positive mindset is to further their education. Although it varies from facility to facility, many jails connect  with local schools to offer a variety of academic courses, life skills education, and career and technology education for incarcerated individuals. Your incarcerated loved one can participate depending on their academic skills, disciplinary record, level of custody, length of sentence, and program availability at their specific facility. Furthering their education will give your incarcerated loved one goals to accomplish, a sense that they are making good use of their time, and wider opportunities upon their release. 

Work on Your Physical Health

Another way for your incarcerated loved one to make use of their time and keep a positive attitude is by working on their physical fitness. Although it varies, many facilities offer fitness centers, classes, and/or equipment for their inmates to use. Working on their physical fitness can help an incarcerated individual boost their self-confidence, improve their mental health, and improve their physical health. This will not only help their mindset, but reduce the risk of injury or disease while incarcerated as well. 

Work Towards a Goal

Goal-setting gives a person a sense of purpose, direction, and motivation. Although the goals may be different than on the outside, it is important for incarcerated individuals to have something to work towards. These can be goals related to education or physical fitness like mentioned before. However, they can also be goals along the lines of improving artistic ability, writing, keeping good behavior, or working towards having a more positive mindset. Whether big or small, encourage your incarcerated loved one to set specific goals for them to work towards during their time on the inside. 

Stay in Contact with Your Loved Ones

One of the most beneficial ways to keep a positive outlook while incarcerated is to keep in contact with your loved ones on the outside. For the members on the outside, using services like Pelipost to send photos to your incarcerated loved ones can make a huge impact on their mindset. This will help them feel loved, supported, and connected to you during your time spent apart. Phone calls, in-person visits, and letters are also great ways to stay connected during this time. 

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Creative Mail Ideas For Inmates

For our incarcerated loved ones, tangible items are cherished and appreciated because it gives them a physical reminder that they are loved. In addition to written letters, there are a variety of creative things you can mail to your loved one to give them a reminder of home. Receiving mail is something special regardless of someone’s love language, especially for those who may be struggling due to the separation from their friends and family. 

Keep in mind that every facility has their own rules and regulations, so make sure you review the specific facility’s mail policies before sending. Here are some of our favorite mail ideas that include creative items to remind your friend or family member of your love and appreciation.

Children’s Drawings and Artwork

Sending a handmade and personal piece of mail is one of the best ways to remind an incarcerated person how much they are loved back home. Creating a drawing or piece of artwork is a simple way for children to comprehend making something for someone who is in a facility.

This piece of mail can be anything from a painting to a simple sketch that the child decides to create for the incarcerated person. A one-of-a-kind personal creation is both a great way for a child to express themselves, and a way to give the recipient a unique reminder of the artist’s love for them. Consider asking the child to draw themselves and the loved one, encouraging them to think of their family member or friend even while they are apart from one another.

Acceptable Food, Clothing, and Gifts 

Giving a gift in the form of a care package is another great way to show your appreciation and love for an incarcerated individual. These items must be sent through private vendors and prison catalogues in order to abide by facility standards.

Items that seem simple to us can be greatly valued by those in facilities, because they do not have access to the same thing they would have while living at home. These types of gifts do not have to be complicated, and are an easy way to remind someone of home.

Photographs through Pelipost

Pelipost allows you to send pictures to your incarcerated loved ones through an easy three step process. With your incarcerated loved one’s mailing address and inmate ID number, you can upload a photo that will then be printed and delivered through Pelipost.  Pelipost is also the top-ranked mobile app to send photos to incarcerated persons for its ease and affordability. It is important that you feel supported throughout the process, so our customer support team is here to help via email at support@pelipost.com.

Our program is a simple and affordable way to deliver pictures right to your loved ones, and it is made possible by an experienced team who understands what it is like to have someone you love in a correctional facility. The app was born out of first-hand personal experience, and you can read more about the Pelipost origin story on our blog.

Jonathan Mayer: PeliPALS Story

Dear Pelipost Company,  

Hello there – I hope that the entire staff are doing well. This may come as a surprise, because this is simply just a letter. I know it’s a bit unorthodox, but I really wanted to send you all a letter, and simply say thank you. Your business makes it very easy for my friends and family to send me pictures, and that is a huge blessing. 

You recently sent out a flyer with a picture of the staff holding up signs saying, “Happy Love Your Inmate Day!” with a very touching message in the back. It’s nice to know the story of your company, and know that you understand firsthand how important it is to get mail/pictures when you’re doing time. Unless you experience it first hand, you could never fully understand the heartbreak in a person’s face when they go to the mail call, and at the end, their name is not called. It’s a heartbreaking sight— like you said in your flyer, even though we are incarcerated, we are still human, and still have feelings. We most definitely still want to feel connected and included to the outside world. COVID has infected the entire world, and the impacts are felt in here. We have been on COVID lockdown for over a year and half now. The first year with no visits allowed. They do allow visits now, but it’s no contact and six feet apart with a face mask. With the Delta variant going around, we could go back to no visitation at all very soon, thus making receiving pictures at mail time so important. 

I have been down for over ten years now. With that much time down people on the outside tend to draft away. It’s an out of sight, out of mind sort of thing. Mail calls for me have been slim to none lately, and it honestly has had me down these past couple of weeks. Between worrying about the pandemic and my parents’ health out there, and being locked up with no mail coming in, I was in my feelings in a bad way. Then last week, I received your flyer for Love Your Inmate Day, with the teaching message and the group photo. It honestly touched me, and I’m not afraid to share that it made me shed a few tears— of joy of course.

Your flyer let me know I was not “forgotten” by the outside world— even as corny as that sounds. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart to the entire Pelipost company and staff, know that you all are doing a great thing and making positive impacts. You make us feel that we are still human, and that we still matter. Though we all made mistakes to land us in here — our mistakes do not define who we are. There is always a bigger story. Thank you again everyone, I truly hope you and all your families are doing well and staying healthy. By the way, thank you for letting me share what was on my heart.

Take care and keep smiling.

Always, 

Johnny

“A man is so much more than his worst mistake.” 

Roman Mendez: PeliPALS Story

Hello Pelipost,

My name is Roman Mendez, and I want to start off by saying thank you! Your service is one of a kind, and I love it. I would be glad to share my story with you all. 

When I was 21 years old, I made a very poor choice and robbed a bank. I had just become a father to my now 8-year-old son, and the pressure of needing to provide for him along with my immature mindset led me to prison. I have been incarcerated since 2016, and during this time I have matured and educated myself as well. I have obtained two associate degrees, one in Business Management and the other in Welding Technology. My support system has been my motivation, and I’ve learned to value the ones who love me. My family helps me get through the hard times — from the visits with my kids to the pictures I receive through PeliPALS. 

My advice to someone experiencing incarceration is to have a productive job that allows you to learn and pass time, take classes and educate yourself, and stay focused on keeping a positive mindset. My advice to the friends and family on the outside would be to just support your loved one, tell them you miss them, and encourage them to use their time wisely. 

Thank you, Pelipost.

-Roman Mendez 

Why Pelipost is the #1 App to Send Pictures to Inmates

While a loved one is experiencing incarceration, it is very important to stay in contact with them. Phone calls, in-person visits, and sending letters are all important ways to stay connected. But sending photos can be the most impactful way to stay in contact with your inmate. Photos are a tangible item your incarcerated loved one can hold on to and remind themselves of how much they are loved back home. To simplify the procedure, apps have been created to send photos to inmates with ease. With its simple process, affordable cost, and experienced team of experts, Pelipost is the #1 app to send pictures to inmates. 

Easy and Convenient Process

One of the main reasons Pelipost is the best app to send photos to inmates is our simple, user-friendly process. Once you have downloaded the Pelipost app from either the App Store or Google Play Store, there is a simple 3-step process for your photos to reach your loved one. 

1) UPLOAD: First, enter your incarcerated loved one’s mailing address and inmate ID number. Then, upload your favorite photos to the Pelipost app directly from your camera roll and we’ll take it from there! Make sure to follow these tips for content and sizing restrictions for the photos. 

2) PRINT: We will print, package, and ship your photos directly to the correctional facility. All photos are 4×6 glossy prints.

3) DELIVERY: Your photos arrive at your loved one’s facility in approximately 3-5 business days. From there, photos are screened and delivered to your loved one shortly after, depending on facility screening times.   

Affordable Pricing

Not only is the Peli-process easy to use, Pelipost is also the #1 app to send photos to inmates for its affordability. There are no hidden fees, gimmicks, or fake offers, and we are transparent about our prices upfront. To send your incarcerated loved one 5 photos, it is $3.99. To send 10 photos, it will cost you $6.99. And to send 20 photos to your inmate, the price is $8.99. The best part? You will receive free shipping on every order!

Great Customer Service

Founded by a mother and son duo, Pelipost is first and foremost a family run business. The friendly, supportive atmosphere of a family business easily translates over to our excellent customer service. Our top-notch service is marked by quick responses to help requests, surprise sales, and community building. To contact our customer service team, you can email support@pelipost.com and a team member will be happy to assist you as soon as possible. 

We Understand Because We’ve Been There

Pelipost is the best app to send photos to inmates because the team understands what incarceration is like firsthand. Joe Calderon realized the difficulty of sending photos to inmates when his mother, Becky, was incarcerated. Together, they came up with the idea for Pelipost to ease the process of sending these precious photos to loved ones. The Pelipost team knows what the incarceration process is like because we’ve been there, and we are here to support you during this journey. 

FEAR: The Psychological Impact of Incarceration

It’s hard to understand what life is like for an inmate. That’s why we want to share the stories of our PeliPAL members and bring awareness to the psychological impact of incarceration. Today, we bring you the story of Tyrone Toliver, one of our PeliPALS in California.

If you’d like your incarcerated loved one’s story featured, have them mail it to Pelipost.

May 5, 2021

Fear is defined as an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. Fear is associated with anxious concern; reason for alarm; frightened; to be afraid of; alarm; apprehension; sudden danger

I once wrote about how I caused a lot of fear in others because I was suffering for many years in prison. There were times I felt that existing wasn’t enough of a reason to continue living. 

So much has changed for me in the past eight-and-a-half years. For one, I asked for help and got therapy. I learned that self-help studies could improve my cognitive thinking and that rehabilitation could provide me with the appropriate coping skills. I learned that I needed to correct learned behavior. Recovery allowed me an opportunity to gain insight into why I did things and why I was the kind of guy who was unlovable. 

Eight and a half years ago, I was in a terrible place when I met my wife Kristy. I finally met someone who was willing to get to know “Tyrone,” not “Lil No-Name Dogg.” But if I did not actually know Tyrone myself, how could she get to know him? That’s when I started feeling something I now know is fear. I felt fear of not being able to change who I am in prison. When I’ve felt this strange emotion, fear, that old, close friend of mine, ANGER, often whispered in my ear, like Chucky: “I’m your friend to the end!”

But how could I go backward when my wife Kristy was a part of my future? So, as time passed, I achieved goals, accomplished things, and eased pain that had kept me down. 

But fear has lingered in the background because of the dangers that lurk every single day in prison. So many inmates’ family and friends will tell them not to get into anyone else’s business, to just keep your opinions to yourself, and then you will be OK in here. That’s not true!

During my terrorizing days and years, I was taking out my hurt, pain, feelings, and issues on people who felt we could actually talk out issues, or on people I had no issues with whatsoever. 

On the first of this month, a Saturday, I experienced the ultimate fear, but it wasn’t fear of failure. For the first time in my 44 years on this earth, I was afraid to die, and I saw death looking directly at me. 

At 6:55 A.M. on May 1, as I was leaving medical after taking my seizure medication, I was attacked by a guy with a crazed look in his eyes and a knife in his hand. His intent was to hurt me, maybe to kill me. 

The thing is that when a voice in your head tells you to do something, you do it. That voice has been your protector since age 5, so you obey. On Friday, my wife drove 350 miles to come visit me at 12:00. As the guy ran after me with a knife, I was afraid of her receiving a phone call in her hotel room to tell her I was dead. So, I ran. 

Was this karma? Some may say I brought this on myself. Some may say, this is your past catching up to you. 

Well, he was catching up to me, but he was also a guy who I had actually given food to eat when he was hungry. His best friend is one of my friend’s sons. 

So, why did this happen? I can only assume he had a mental health issue and that he snapped, like I had done in the past. He was already going to be transferred back to a maximum-security facility. You see, I am at a facility that’s designated for life skills improvement, vocational training, computer literacy, rehabilitation, recovery, and job training. This prison is for those who are serious about changing their lives. That also can be scary, causing some to fear failure. If you are deemed a program failure here and sent back to a maximum-security prison with guys who don’t want to change who they are, your life has just become a living hell for at least 2 years. One fatal infraction there and it goes from 2 years to 8 years. 

FEAR pushes people over the edge. Fear causes people to act irrational, and fear destroys relationships.

In prison, so much can go wrong in the blink of an eye, and it all did that morning. The tower officer who watched inmates come out of each building was actually in the bathroom when this happened. COVID-19 protocols have each building being cell fed, which causes all corrections officers to be busy with that, and not watching inmate movement and medical. So, safety was medium, but what did I have to worry about? 

Currently, I live in fear for different reasons: I want to go home and the window of opportunity is here, but one fatal infraction would make it impossible for me to go home. I’ve seen so many people leave prison feet first (in a pine box) due to the havoc behind these walls, not even related to what put them in prison to begin with. My wife, Kristy, keeps me focused on my personal goals and holds me accountable for my actions. We both fear the danger that lingers all around for a rehabilitated person like me who has so much to lose here every day.

I am not writing this for sympathy or for a “thatta boy,” whether that’s either for running to save my life or for passing on what some see as an opportunity to defend myself and protect my reputation as a tough guy for my ego or pride. I am writing this for therapeutic purposes, for myself. My nerves are still shaken up. I’m looked at as a coward more now than before because I did not fight back in defense, and I’m more afraid today than I’ve ever been. 

After more than 28 years of incarceration throughout my life, I’m 44 now, and I have a chance to leave a system I was actually born into. I write this for all the family and friends of us individuals who are incarcerated but rehabilitated as a way to let you all know that there are times we live in fear. At times we stand shoulder to shoulder in a chow line, medication line, laundry exchange line, package line, canteen line, job or vocational training, or college class with a guy who has nothing to lose and we are terrified over losing the chance to leave here. 

Stay safe and strong.

Tyrone Toliver

————————

The psychological impact of incarceration can take a toll on an individual’s mental health. Keeping in contact with your incarcerated loved one can help them stay positive and feel included in your life. Sending photos through Pelipost is a simple and effective way to keep in touch with your loved one, and provide them with physical photos that they will cherish. 

To download the Pelipost app go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Q&A With Joe Calderon on the Pelipost Scholarship

Overcoming Adversity Scholarship

Pelipost is a family-run business that was founded for the purpose of helping families affected by incarceration. As Pelipost’s business has grown, so has the team’s passion for making a positive impact on people with incarcerated loved ones. To give back to this community, the team decided to create the Pelipost Overcoming Adversity Scholarship, which will be debuting in January 2022. We sat down with Joe Calderon, son of a formerly incarcerated mother and co-founder of Pelipost, for a Q&A on the Pelipost scholarship.   

Joe Calderon, CEO of Pelipost

What is the Pelipost Overcoming Adversity Scholarship?

The Pelipost Overcoming Adversity Scholarship was created to empower and reward 5 students seeking a college education while experiencing the hardships of having a parent or guardian behind bars. The National Institute of Corrections estimates roughly 2.7 million children have an incarcerated parent or guardian, revealing that there are more children impacted by incarceration than adults currently in the prison system.

“To apply for our scholarship, the student must be pursuing an undergraduate degree, have a parent who is incarcerated, and submit an essay,” Joe says. “The winners will be picked based on which essays are compelling, connected to the cause, and where our company can make the greatest impact for the greatest need.”

Joe Calderon’s Story

The Calderon family created the Pelipost Overcoming Adversity Scholarship because they understand what it is like to go through college with an incarcerated parent, and want to give back to students in similar situations. Joe Calderon was in his freshman year of college when his mother, Becky, was sentenced to three years in prison. 

“It’s a personal experience for me. I know the struggles firsthand of being a first time student, having a job, and going through having a parent on the inside,” Joe says. “I know other kids out there are going through the same experiences, so it just felt right to do our part and help them overcome these challenges.”

When Joe was in college around ten years ago, he worked both a part time job and internship — all while taking classes — to make ends meet. He pointed out that college expenses have exponentially increased since then as well, making it even more difficult for these students to pay tuition. 

If Joe had a scholarship like this during his educational career, it “would’ve relieved financial headaches,” he says. “I would have worried less about money and focused more on my education.” 

Furthering Education While Facing Adversity

When a parent is incarcerated, it can force a young person to grow up fast. Adding this aspect to a student’s life can add a lot more stress, responsibility, and challenges to overcome. 

“On top of your schoolwork and job, you have to stay connected with your incarcerated loved one, write to them, send photos, add money to their books, send quarterly packages, and try and visit,” Joe says. “When my mom was incarcerated, her facility was 8 hours away. Making the time to visit took up almost a whole weekend.” 

All of these added responsibilities and hurdles to jump over can have an impact on these children furthering their education. However, on the other hand, the strength they gain from facing adversity can help them to adjust to the realities of the real world. Joe Calderon believes that these experiences give you a sense of responsibility and can mature you in a way others may not relate to — whether you want them to or not. 

“These experiences show you the challenges that you are able to overcome,” Joe says. “That’s what life is. It throws you curveballs that you’re not ready for, but builds your character when you overcome them.”

Words of Encouragement

Although faced with challenges, Joe Calderon went on to graduate with his college degree and managed to start his own business. He encourages students overcoming adversity to keep going. 

“You always have to remember that when you’re in a crisis it’s only a temporary state,” he says. “You have to keep looking towards the future and working hard.”

He goes on to say that even if it feels like, “why is this happening to me?”, you should keep persevering because there is a bigger plan to your life. 

“If my mom had never gone on the inside, we would have never started this business that impacts thousands of people everyday,” Joe says. “You have to keep pushing because the hard times are only temporary.”

To apply for the Pelipost Overcoming Adversity Scholarship, visit https://bold.org/scholarships/pelipost-overcoming-adversity-scholarship/. For more information on Pelipost and to get started sending photos, visit https://www.pelipost.com.