OPRAH was the queen of giveaways on her television talk show. Did you ever watch the joyful recipients and wish you could be that generous and change the life of another in such a profound way?
There is a way. You can purchase a Christmas gift for a child who has a parent in prison this year. Your gift has the potential to change one small life and possibly even repair the damage that such a separation can cause a family.
Our ministry school loved to participate in the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree project. The Christmas tree in the corner of our school worship room was a gathering place each morning in December. The students could be found gently touching the paper angels that hung from its branches, reading them one by one. After careful examination, an angel-shaped tag would be chosen and the student would walk away with a satisfied smile.
I always searched through the Angel Tree tags with one goal in mind. A girl’s name. My motive was totally selfish. As the mother of two rough and tumble boys, I couldn’t wait to buy a Christmas present for a little girly-girl. I was so excited to buy a Barbie with two or three frilly outfits! Later, while my husband and sons were intently hunting the toy aisles full of super heroes and G.I. Joes, I would be concentrating on deciding if the sparkly gown will look best with peep-toe high heels or sequined flats.
Even though my personal motive might have been a bit selfish, this national ministry is all about giving. The Angel Tree Program, by Prison Fellowship is a beautiful bridge between the parent and the child. For thirty years this national outreach has been an important link between generations who are separated by the bars of a prison cell. The goal is to provide the children with a Christmas present as a gift from their own parent. The incarcerated mom or dad signs up for this chance to bless their children and a personal note written by the parent is often included in the gift.
The bad news is revealed in these statistics:
- 1.7 million children have one or both parents incarcerated.
- Approximately 50% of all inmates have not seen their children since being incarcerated.
- Most are being held more than 100 miles away from their children.
- 52% of all inmates have children.
The good news is that Angel Tree, working with more than 7,700 churches and organizations was able to be that vital link between parent and child in 2011 reaching nearly 400,000 children! Since its creation thirty years ago, Angel Tree has connected 9 million children with 5.2 million parents!
The entire concept comes down to simply choosing a nametag and then picking out a wonderful Christmas present for a child. The gift will be given to the child on behalf of his or her parent. Prison Fellowship works with local churches, companies and organizations to set up Angel Trees and let the public be a helping hand.
For all the details go here: http://www.angeltree.org/angeltreehome,
where you will also enjoy some beautiful stories of the many ways that Angel Tree impacts families all year around.
Let’s not let Oprah have all the fun! You do not have to be a millionaire to bless a young life!