PRISON MINISTRY TIMES
December 7, 2014 — Vancouver, Washington
On Saturday, December 6th 2014, Families on the Outside held their TENTH ANNUAL Angel Tree Christmas Party at the Lighthouse Christian Church in Vancouver, Washington.
Angel Tree is a program through Prison Fellowship Ministries that ensures children receive gifts for Christmas from their incarcerated parent.
This Christmas party was not your typical party, with over 95 children attending, every aspect of the party being covered by people wanting to reach out to families during the holiday season. Designers were brought in from Portland to decorate and set the stage for a lavish Winter Wonderland, while behind the scenes donors and volunteers were called in to make sure that this would be a night to be remembered by the children and families.
At the Angel Tree party the children and their families are spoiled with tables of food and desserts, while all through the night prizes are handed out and the children do arts and crafts. Then the highlight of the night erupts when Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus come out to hand out the Christmas gifts to the children.
These gifts are not just ordinary gifts, but gifts that have reached across miles to bridge the gap between incarcerated parent and child. The gifts speak volumes of love to a child. One child this year was so happy after opening gifts from her dad, she was heard saying, “Merry Christmas Daddy!” all night long. Another child hugged her gift as though hugging her incarcerated parent. After opening their gifts, many children shed tears of joy and laughter. The children remember these thoughtful gifts and the Angel Tree Party throughout their lives as being there for them during a time of hardship and uncertainty.
Angel Tree reaches out to the children of inmates and their families with the love of Christ. This unique program gives us an opportunity to share Christ’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.
Photos: Shelly Jackson Gilpatrick and Monique Murray
9208 N.E. Hwy 99, Ste. 107 #50 • Vancouver, WA 98665 • (360) 904-7302