Terri Coles
December 24, 2015
Blog_Yahoo_AngelTree_2015

[PHOTO COURTESY: CBC News}

Christmas is a happy time of year for many families, though for children with a parent in jail the holiday can be a reminder of what is missing.

But one Canadian charity makes sure those children have something under the tree from their incarcerated mother or father, even if the parent can’t be there in person to see them open it.

The Angel Tree Christmas program, run by a Christian outreach program called Prison Fellowship Canada, distributes presents to as many as 5,000 children every year. Inmates suggest gifts for their children, and they are purchased and distributed by the charity, with the costs covered through donations.

“The aim of the program is essentially keeping that connection between the parent and the child alive,” Stacey Campbell, Prison Fellowship Canada executive director and CEO, tells Yahoo Canada News. “Children who believe they’re forgotten, children who are disconnected, suffer a lot of issues.”

More than 2,200 families across the country received a gift from an incarcerated parent through the Angel Tree program in 2014, according to the Prison Fellowship website, and Campbell says the program has worked with nearly 3,000 families so far this year.

On any given day there are 45,000 Canadian children with a parent in prison, or 256,000 children annually, according to JustKids, an initiative founded by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver to support children with a parent in the justice system.

Read more here Yahoo Canada News.