Angel Tree supports prisoner’s children through local church

Shelby Ketchmark, Staff Writer

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  Currently in the Statesville Correctional Center, there are more than 3,500 inmates. With 37.7% of Plainfield residents being children aged 0-19, according to plainfield-il.org, that leaves a high probability of at least one District 202 student having an incarcerated parent.
Living a life without a parent around is difficult for a child, during holidays especially, and this is where Angel Tree comes in.
“Angel Tree is a ministry that helps children receive gifts at Christmas time from their incarcerated parents,” says Alicia Morado, coordinator of Angel Tree at Crossroads Christian Church located in Joliet, IL.
After coordinating for a handful of years, Morado was faced with her own Angel Tree experience.
“My husband was unfortunately incarcerated for something he had done, and we had actually become an Angel Tree family. He filled out the application for Angel Tree to get his daughter placed on the list,” Morado said. The application process is simple: prisoners send out an application to churches who are willing to help, and then wait to be accepted.
Challenges such as not being able to give a child a good Christmas is something many families face.
“I felt like I had a connection to these people. I understood where they were coming from and the struggles they were going through,” Morado said. Angel Tree, one of many non-profit organizations of Prison Fellowship, aims to help the “physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of families.”
“There was shame surrounding my family being on the list – but I’m grateful for the program,” Antonio Morado, Alicia’s husband said. Thankful that he’s now able to spend time with his family on the holidays, Antonio reflects on how the Angel Tree program has helped shape his family.
Not only is Angel Tree helping the community of Plainfield, families nationwide are given the opportunity to be a part of something greater than themselves. Aside from Angel Tree Christmas, Prison Fellowship holds an Angel Tree Camping Trip, Angel Tree Sports Clinic, and Angel Tree Mentoring. All programs are open to those wanting to help.
To reach Prison Fellowship and their community, visit prisonfellowship.org.