Angel Tree Provides Gifts To Kids With Incarcerated Parents

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Community Bible Church in Fort Smith is helping incarcerated parents send their love home for Christmas by providing gifts for their children.

"We work with chaplains almost all over the country," said Jennifer Lowrey, Angel Tree program manager. "The applications go out in the summertime. Prisoner parents sign their children up, tell us where they live, who they live with, what they'd like to send, and a message for their child."

More than 3,000 kids in Arkansas will be celebrating Christmas in a special way.

"For some families, this is the only Christmas they're going to have, so it means a lot," said Anna Layne, Angel Tree prison ministry coordinator. "One kid looked at [the present] and said, 'I know this is from my mom, I know. This is how my mom would write a message to me.' That's just what touches us so much about this, is because it's that mom or dad who is actually reaching out to their child from prison."

Organizers said the Angel Tree benefits more than just the children.

"It's good for the child, it's good for the parent, it's just good for everybody all around," Lowrey said.

For members of the church congregation, it's just as special.

"Everyone looks forward to the angels," Layne said. "We ran out of angels the first two Sundays. We have over 300 angels adopted in the first two Sundays and they were asking for more."

The church's Angel Tree celebration included a dinner, music, and a big present reveal for the children and their families. The church reached more than a dozen counties in Arkansas and Oklahoma this year.