Saturday was an exciting day for Prison Fellowship!
We were in Atlanta for the 8th annual Celebrate Freedom concert put on by Atlanta’s Christian radio station, The Fish. We had an opportunity to tell tens of thousands of guests about our Angel Tree program and how they can get involved in helping bring hope to children of prisoners in Georgia. As concert goers were serenaded by Casting Crowns, Newsboys, Crowder, and many more Christian artists, they also got to witness a very touching moment.
We invited two Angel Tree families from the Atlanta area to meet us at our event booth for a big surprise. We whisked them away in golf carts to the backstage area just as Big Daddy Weave was coming off stage. The families sipped sodas and chatted with Erika Harold, former Miss America and Prison Fellowship board member, under the shady tent while they waited to see what the big surprise would be.
Minutes later, we were airing live on the jumbotron from the “red carpet,” where artists had been doing interviews throughout the day. Erika had the honor of presenting these two families with amazing gifts—and as the crowd in the stadium awaited next-up Michael W. Smith, they had the opportunity to watch an unforgettable moment unfold on the big screen.
Erika brought Keisha and her family onto the red carpet first. Angel Tree has ministered to Keisha and her children—Demonte, Charmaine, and Jermaine—through Christmas gifts and school supplies for the past 13 years. Demonte’s father has been incarcerated since 2002, and he’s serving a 25-year sentence. Keisha is a single mom raising her family in downtown Atlanta. She’s had her share of health issues over the past few years, and her oldest, Demonte, turned down an out-of-state scholarship to stay home and help care for his mom and his siblings.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, Angel Tree was able to present Keisha with a gift of $10,000 to help provide college tuition for her children. Charmaine is excited to study law, and Jermaine wants to pursue computer engineering or graphic design.
Next up, Rose and her three granddaughters took the spotlight. Laterriah, Slethia, and Yasmine have been a part of the Angel Tree program for nearly five years now.
“We love Angel Tree,” Rose says.
The oldest two girls are grateful that they have gotten to go to Angel Tree summer camp over the years. The youngest, Yasmine, will be old enough to go next summer, and she’s already excited to get to hang out at the pool with other kids who understand what she’s going through.
Rose is the sole guardian of her grandchildren, and last summer, the family was rocked by the sudden death of her grandson. Then, last Easter, Rose got very sick. She hasn’t been able to work full-time since. The family has had their struggles, and now they are dealing with costly repairs that need to be made to their home.
Live from the red carpet, Rose’s family also received a gift of $10,000 to help fix their leaky roof and provide a computer for the girls, so they don’t have to travel to the library to do their homework.
“I’m just really blown away!” Rose said after she stepped off camera.
These two families shed tears of joy, and the audience rejoiced right along with them as they watched their needs being met.
God is the great Provider, and just as He laid it on the heart of an anonymous donor to help these children affected by incarceration, we know he will lead others to help provide gifts and the Gospel to hundreds of thousands of other kids with a mom or dad in prison this Christmas. We can’t wait to see how churches and organizations in Georgia, and all around the country, step up to help many families this coming year!
If you want to join us in bringing Christ’s love to families affected by crime and incarceration, please visit www.angeltree.org today.