For most people familiar with it, talk of Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program brings to mind images of Christmas presents and seasonal parties with cookies and carols playing in the background. So you might be surprised to know that summer is a very busy time for Angel Tree and its mission to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.
Every year, thousands of children with a parent behind bars attend summer camp thanks to the help of Angel Tree churches across the country. At camp, these kids are able to spend time with others who understand what it’s like to have a mom or dad in prison, and to enjoy a week away from the things that remind them of their parent’s absence. Most importantly, they are introduced to their Heavenly Father, and given a chance to have a relationship with a God who loves and cares for them in ways that no earthly parent can.
Camp Hope in Missouri is just one of many camps across the country that welcomes Angel Tree kids each year. The camp serves as an oasis for young people to forget their daily struggles and to experience something many of them couldn’t have even imagined before arriving.
“Thank you for giving me a chance to come to Camp Hope,” says Abigail, one of the estimated 6,500 Angel Tree kids attending camp this summer. “It’s a really cool experience to come to a place where you can have fun but learn about God at the same time. Having a really cool time at a place that my parents probably couldn’t afford means a lot. Thank you.”
Preparing for Christmas
But camping is not the only way that Angel Tree is serving families this summer. In prisons across the country, Prison Fellowship is actively signing up men and women who want to participate in the Angel Tree Christmas program. They are able to provide the names of their sons and daughters, as well as a list of gift ideas that they would like to have purchased on their behalf.
In the fall, these requests will be forwarded to churches nationwide who have signed up to be a part of Angel Tree Christmas. Local volunteers will select the names of children that have been submitted by their mom or dad. At Christmastime, these volunteers will purchase gifts for these boys and girls, and will deliver them to the prisoner’s family on their behalf.
If you and your church or organization would like to be a part of Angel Tree Christmas this holiday season, now is the time to get involved. Visit our Angel Tree registration page to sign up and be a part of the transformation occurring in the lives of prisoners and their families.