Angel Tree is a program of Prison Fellowship international ministry that is aimed at 2.7 million children in the US who have a sense of abandonment, loneliness and shame that come from having a mom or dad in prison. Angel Tree is a program that reaches out to the children of prisoners and their families with the love of Christ, by providing age appropriate Christmas gifts through a network of local participating churches. Prisoners need to register for the Angel Tree program through their prison Chapel, usually during the summer months.
Each prisoner provides information about the names and ages of their names in need of Christmas gifts. At Christmas time local participating church volunteers deliver age appropriate gifts directly to the home of a family of an incarcerated loved one with a message from the incarcerated parent to their children. It's important for the family members who desire to participate in the Angel Tree program to encourage and remind their incarcerated loved one to be on the look out for bulletin board postings in their prison chapel and in their cell dorm lobby that alert them to the timing of going to the Chapel and registering their children for this program.
Other Angel Tree programs include:
a) Angel Tree Camping where prisoner's children go to the Angel Tree summer camp, experience normal childhood joys, and learn more about God's great love for them;
b) Angel Tree Monitoring where Angel Tree helps match at-risk prisoner's children with caring, consistent adult mentors to help them stay on course for a bright future;
c) Angel Tree Monthly Partner where a volunteer partner can help support children with spiritual, emotional, and physical needs all year long.
The Angel Tree website includes a section entitled "Coping with Incarceration" which guides a family to important resource materials and programs to help children navigate through the trauma of suddenly having a parent go to jail. Some books recommended in that section include: "When a Parent Goes to Jail", Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration (Seasame Street toolkit) (NEW), "My Daddy is in Jail", Seasame Street in Communities: Incarceration, and much more. And for family and friends, see "Sentenced, Now What?", "HELP! My Love One is in Prison", Family Arrested: How to Survive the Incarceration of a Loved One, and more.
Toys for Tots
Log onto Toys for Tots listing resources for parents to seek Christmas gifts for their underprivileged children.
Back to School Aid Programs
FelonFamilies.org maintains a list of known available Back To School free assistance that is targeted to underprivileged, needy children, as well as targeted specifically for children of incarcerated parents.
a) Salvation Army, in concert with Television Channel Fox 8, co-ordinate a school supplies drive and give away each year. The public promotion can be view on Channel Fox 8 beginning in July each year and the actual site, time and date (s) of the school supplies distribution. For more information of this program contact Salvation Army of Greater New Orleans, 4526 S. Claiborne Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana (504) 899-4569.
b) Felon Families Back Pack distribution to children of prison inmates will begin in August, 2017, as a co-operative effort with many other faith based and non-profit organizations located in the Greater New Orleans area, beginning with the Jefferson Parish prison system. This program is based on the "Little Lambs Back-2-School" program created by the Innerfaith Prison Ministry based in Lafayette, Louisiana. Felon Families will ultimately reach out to the families of inmates from the Greater New Orleans area via their churches.