With Thanksgiving being next week, Christmas is right around the corner! Both of these holidays emphasize the need for gratitude and giving. One of my favorite ways to give during the holidays is sponsoring a child’s Christmas gifts through the Angel Tree Program. As a former Angel Tree child, this program is very dear to my heart. This program helped me to escape a lot of negative thoughts about my relationship with my father and maintain a bond with him.
A lot of people might see the Angel Tree volunteers set up at the malls, choose an angel off of the tree, and sponsor a child from the list. I do this every year and, if I have the means, sponsor multiple children. While it is fun and exciting to pick out different clothes and toys, I wanted to give people a deeper understanding of what sponsoring a child really means.
“It starts with a gift…and the Gospel…lives are transformed!” -PrisonFellowship.org
So what is Angel Tree all about anyway?
The Prison Fellowship Angel Tree is a program that allows children of incarcerated parents to receive gifts for Christmas.
Why should I help people who are incarcerated?
As the website states, this is “a way to care for some of the most overlooked members of our communities.” This is not as much about the incarcerated parents as it is about the children for me.
- The Gospel is being shared with the parents, children, and caregivers. Lives can truly be transformed through this program.
- This program helps to ease the children’s feelings of abandonment and pain associated with the fact that their parents are incarcerated.
- Incarcerated parents are allowed to write handwritten notes on the gift tags. This creates a more intimate experience for the children receiving these gifts as they would be able to recognize their parents’ handwriting and truly feel as though the gift was handpicked by him/her.
- Children who would otherwise go without, will receive gifts for Christmas from someone they love.
What is the process?
- Incarcerated parents submit the children’s names and caregiver’s contact information.
- Names of the children and their specifics (clothing and shoe size) are added to an Angel Tag and displayed.
- Gifts and clothes are purchased and brought to the affiliated church to be wrapped.
- Caregivers can go to the church to pick up the gifts or church members may deliver the gifts personally.
If you are interested in more information on the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree program, follow this link.
Have you ever heard of Angel Tree before? What programs like Angel Tree do you love to work with to give back to the community during the holidays?