OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- They may be in prison but their hearts are very much at home. Angel Yoakum and thousands of other incarcerated parents tend to struggle most during the holidays.
But Prison Fellowship is partnering with hundreds of churches and the Department of Corrections to strengthen and restore relationships with family. Christopher Pipkin with Prison Fellowship said, “The child believes they’ve been abandoned, but through Angel Tree, we are able to make that connection.”
Angel tree is act of love, bringing some joy to families who might otherwise have little to celebrate. DOC inmate Malanei Matial said, “It’s amazing because they always feel like it’s from me and I get to write a little note on the gift but it’s not from me, it’s from all the generous people who so selflessly give back with finances and time. They are thinking of others. It’s not from me at all but I’m so grateful that you guys make it seem that way. And I hope when I get out I can be part of that contribution too.”
Angel Tree begins with a gift, but it doesn’t end in December. All year long, Prison Fellowship caters to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of children with an incarcerated parent. According to Pastor Anthony Scott, “From a toy you can find other needs exist. Food, clothing, back to school supplies, or even spiritual counseling. You just never know what needs arrive just building relationships.”
Children learn they are not forgotten. And Christmas is brighter for inmates, who can sent a piece of themselves home for the holidays. Inmate Angel Yoakum said, “You get to send a little note with it so every present they get is from mama. The note on there you can say I love you, anything. More importantly, Angel Tree is faith based so you know it comes from somebody who loves god and called according to their purpose. That just makes everything better. One day at a time you get closer to your child. It’s amazing. I love Angel Tree.
Never underestimate the power of a present.