Statistics say that 1 in every 28 school-aged children will have a parent in prison this Christmas. Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree is a ministry that works with local churches and organizations to provide a Christmas gift and the gospel message to children on behalf of their incarcerated parent.
Jennifer Lowrey explains what first drew her to get involved with the ministry of Angel Tree.
“I was actually drawn to the ministry because my husband has a background as an attorney and he represented people on death row. He saw lives transformed and changed by the blood Jesus; even some of the most hardened people that you could imagine really coming to know Christ. So when this opportunity came up it really resonated.”
She shares from personal experience,
“I can relate to what it’s like to see your parents arrested. I did see them arrested in front of me when I was 3 years old. I know what it’s like for those kids; the trauma that you feel, and how much you want to know about that your mom and dad love you.”
“Angel Tree is this amazing way that you can bridge that gap and make sure that kids know that they’re loved, that it’s not their fault, and that Jesus loves them.”
How exactly does Angel Tree work? Jennifer describes the process from her vantage point as an Angel Tree Program Manager.
“It all starts in prison. We work with chaplains all over the country, and we have volunteers that help the chaplains go in and spread the word to parents in prison that this is available to them.”
“The parents request the ministry for their children; they tell us where they live, what kind of gift they’d like to send and a special message that they would like to go on the gift. Then we find local churches who will become the hands and feet of Jesus, contact the families, purchase gifts, and deliver them with the love of Christ on behalf of the parent that’s in prison.”
The local church plays an important role in connecting vulnerable children with their incarcerated parent, and sharing the gospel message of love, hope and restoration with them.
“We want to not only connect the parent and child, but we will also want to introduce them to believers who are going to love on them, who will share the gospel with them, and hopefully will be involved with them all year long as much of the family would like them to be.”
You can help brighten a child’s Christmas by making a donation to Angel Tree. $99 will help reach 6 children with a Christmas gift, the Gospel, and a message of love from their incarcerated parent. Give a gift online.
Jennifer Lowrey has been with Prison Fellowship on and off since 2005, first as a Field Director for Arkansas; an Angel Tree Program Specialist; and in her present role as Program Manager, Angel Tree Camping & Mentoring.Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree