Filthy Rags Outreach is a 501(c)(3) non-profit outreach that started behind bars at Stafford Creek Corrections center in Aberdeen, Washington in 2018. Alphonso Bell had been on a Spiritual journey and as he looked around, he noticed there weren’t men like him on that path: ex-gang members, drug dealers, and men that came from the street life. He spoke with his friend Charles Champion, and the 2 of them set out to reach men. They started meeting on the big yard during rec. time, having discussions about the false realities of the gang lifestyle. Alphonso & Charles knew that to reach these men, they had to meet them right where they were at. “In order to reach the type of men that come from the street life,” says founder Alphonso Bell, “sometimes you gotta hear some things you don’t wanna hear in order to sow the seeds you need to sow. Our motto is to meet men right where they’re at.”
Alphonso aka “Fatt Cuzz” & Charles aka “Baby Jody” both come from that lifestyle.
Charles was a gang-member, drug dealer, and was in prison for shooting & killing a police officer and Alphonso sold drugs & was involved in gang & criminal activity. It’s this very street-cred and respect in the streets that they leverage to influence change among their peers.
After some time, Filthy Rags Outreach was able to secure a sponsor which allowed them to move the meetings, which they were hosting on the Big Yard, into a classroom in the education building. Looking around these meeting was unlike anything ever seen before, there were Crips, Bloods, & G’s all in the same room talking about the false realities of the lifestyle & the need for change. On the streets, these men would be enemies! What’s amazing is that many of these men are actively taking steps towards change, many of them wanting to reach back and help stop the gun and gang violence in our communities.
The outreach had a vision that didn’t just include men in prison though. They wanted to be able to reach men outside of prison as well.
Over time, FRO has had amazing support from people across the world that contributed through building a website, creating a social media presence, recording men calling from prison sharing transformational experiences, testimonies, preaching sermons, and exposing the false realities of the gang & street lifestyle.
In March 2021, we started hosting meetings in Tacoma, Washington where men can join with each other, receive mentoring, and build connections with men who are on the same journey of change. In addition to the meetings, we hope to soon host financial literacy classes, entrepreneurship classes, & job-readiness classes. We will provide programs & classes so we can come alongside men & women both in the community and those recently released from prison to help them get on their feet so they don’t have to go back to their old life. We also hope to establish partnerships and connections with employers in the community that are willing to hire men & women from Filthy Rags Outreach. We have also partnered with “Be A Friend Ministries” to provide transitional housing.
In October 2021, we were awarded 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by the IRS which allows our donors to write off any donations given to us.
Everything that we are doing, and everything that we would like to do costs money. We need your support! If you believe in what we are doing, please help! We have the passion, the drive, and people willing to do the work, but we can't continue, let alone move forward, without financial sponsors.
Please donate today!