top of page

Beekeeping In Prison

From Bad Behavior to Beekeeping

You may ask, “Why does HeartBound have a beekeeping program?” That’s a legitimate question. Neither Andrea, Grace, nor I are certified beekeepers. My only cursory experience taking care of bees was during a summer job I had back in college. Two years ago, Omar Howard, the Chaplain of the Atlanta Transitional Center, called me and asked if I knew anything about bees. “A little,” I replied. “Good,” and he handed the phone off to Leonard, a resident at the Transitional Center. Leonard explained that he had gone through a prison beekeeping program and would like to start a program at the Center for his fellow residents. I assured him that we would help in any way possible and Andrea picked up a couple hives from a very kind, country gentleman. He gave us a discount when he learned where the hives were going; humanity can surprise you sometimes. So, Leonard started a beekeeping program. Whenever he needed supplies, he would call me and I would scramble to find them. Once when I was out of town, my roommates received a strange packet – it had a live Queen bee inside! Our first beekeeping class graduated four certified beekeepers. I had the opportunity to look at the test, administered by officials from the University of Georgia. Y’all…be grateful you don’t have to take that test! I started sweating! I had serious doubts that all of our students would actually pass. You cannot imagine the joy and relief we all felt when the UGA folks returned to tell us that everyone had passed! Fast forward a few months, one of our newly certified beekeepers, Jeff, was being released. He called and asked if we could help him get some beekeeping supplies so he could start a hive at home. I told him we would do all that we could but couldn’t make any promises. I emailed the UGA beekeeping people and they said they would put out a request for donations. A few days later, Jeff sent me a photo - he had a trailer loaded up with beekeeping supplies! He was so excited, the UGA beekeeping community had come through! The next day, Jeff texted me a photo in his garage, surrounded by his wife and four daughters. His girls had painted his beehive, and at the bottom it read, “Welcome Home.” A rainbow, blue clouds, bees, and rising sun adorned the rest of the hive. So, why run a beekeeping program? Because if those tiny little creatures can give one man like Jeff a reason to stay sober, an opportunity to make a little money on the side and restore some dignity to his family, show him and his children a living example of God’s grace and care for us, then this program has exceeded every goal we set for it. If those tiny little bees give Jeff a sense of pride and hope for the future, then every dollar we put into the program is well spent. If Jeff’s daughters look at him and see a man that is changed, see a father that loves and cares for them, a father that is truly “welcome at home,” then every sting and hiccup along the way is worth it. When you give to HeartBound, you aren’t only supporting people like Jeff, but you are helping his four daughters and his wife. You are giving people HOPE for the future. You are helping to remind those in need of God’s promises that He “is faithful and He will do it.” We serve a living God, One who walks with us each and every day, One whose majesty can be found in the tiniest of creatures like the humble and hard-working bee. It’s just so wonderful. If you feel called to support our ministry, you can do so by visiting or through Venmo @HeartBoundMInistries Thank you for giving hope and have a blessed week. Spencer

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Dostoevsky on Prison

Prisons do not exist in a vacuum. Forty-five percent of Americans have had a family member spend time in jail or prison. Ninety-five percent of the men, women, and children that we send to prison are

What a Prison Baptism Looks Like

There’s an old-time country artist I really like called Stonewall Jackson. I heard this song called “Waterloo” and was instantly hooked. A couple weeks later I came across another Stonewall Jackson cl

"How do you work with the poor?" You don't.

When HeartBound hosts our Returning Hearts Celebrations, I like to work the check-in table for families. Why? For many of the children, this will be their first visit to prison. They’re staring up at


bottom of page