Like so many things in life, there is far more to Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree Program than buying a gift for a child of an incarcerated parent! Even though a parent is not present during the holidays, a child should never have to wonder if there will be a gift for them.
Angel Tree provides inmates the chance to participate in the holidays with their family. Inmates across the country are able to apply for a gift for their children. Prison Fellowship works with prison chaplains to ensure as many prisoners as possible are receiving applications. A recent conversation with an ex-felon who is now a full-time Dad proves this. He remembers that when his daughter received a gift while he was in prison, she exclaimed, “I knew Daddy wouldn’t forget!” When you buy an Angel Tree gift, you are making sure a “mommy" or "daddy” is able to remember.
Angel Tree also provides the caregiver of a child who has an incarcerated parent – or two – with the ability to place a gift under the tree on Christmas day. Many of the caregivers are family members of the person in prison and have little means to care for their own kids or the other grandkids, let alone buy Christmas presents. Many foster families who care for the children of incarcerated parents do so because they have massive hearts of love, not burgeoning bank accounts. Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree is a service to the foster families in your community.
Angel Tree reaches way outside those families who sign up for a gift. Recently an ex-inmate and his daughter were I asked if she had received Angel Tree gifts at Christmas when her dad was in prison. She immediately smiled and said, “Yes, they were great!” Her dad looked up and exclaimed, “Do you know that all the guys in the prison I was in, signed their kids up for Angel Tree? Then when the children came to visit after Christmas they would bring the Gospel books they received with their gift to show their Dads. Men decided to follow Jesus because of Angel Tree. Did you know that?”
With each gift comes a simple explanation of the meaning of Christmas; that the Son of God entered the world in human form and died as a convicted felon on the cross, forgiving us and freeing us to enter into the kingdom of Jesus forever! Northminster’s Angel Tree is about gift giving – it is about giving the gift of the Gospel. Why not give a gift this year to children whose parents are serving time in prison. You will bring joy and happiness to a child and to yourself.