Help share Christmas cheer with children of prisoners

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When a sentence of prison time is imposed on a parent, many times the children of those parents feel they are also being punished.

This is especially true at Christmastime, when children can really feel the separation while their parent is in prison. About 75 percent of women in prison are mothers, and one in every 43 children has a parent in prison. This holiday season, more than 1.7 million children will spend Christmas separated from their incarcerated mom or dad.

This separation can strain relationships between children and their parents, and put additional stresses on the caregivers of the children. Children aren’t able to share with their parents stories from their day in school or worries about spending Christmas alone or in an unfamiliar setting.

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Little Angel Rae is just one of the many children who knows that his mom can’t be with him this year for Christmas, leaving him feeling lonely – especially when he sees other families spending time together celebrating the season. It’s during these emotional times that Angel Rae wonders if his mom even remembers him.

Angel Rae’s worries are very common for children who have a parent incarcerated, and that’s where Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program comes in. Angel Tree connects incarcerated parents with their children by delivering Christmas gifts on behalf of the parent through the local church. Last year nearly 400,000 children received Christmas presents, and the program has a goal of presenting gifts to 475,000 children this year. A Christmas gift from a parent shows children like Angel Rae that they are loved – not forgotten.

To make an even larger impact, every donation of $12.58 will help provide a gift for two children, thanks to a matching grant program. Through the Angel Tree program, local volunteers select gifts especially for children in need of a tangible reminder of the love of a parent.

Help a child this holiday season – by giving them an unforgettable Christmas filled with joy and hope. Children like Angel Rae will know that they’re loved, and be less lonely during Christmas thanks to your generosity.