Angel Tree is a programme of Prison Fellowship International and the largest global Christmas programme that reaches out exclusively to children who have a parent in prison.
Angel Tree was founded by the late Mary Kay Beard who while serving a prison sentence watched women gift wrap soap, shampoo and toothpaste to give to their children as Christmas presents. The programme is among her greatest legacies and was designed to share God’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people in prison and their whānau (family).
On Christmas Day, thousands of children in Aotearoa (NZ) will open a present from their mum or dad who is not there – they are in prison. This programme creates a centre of hope that protects the bond between these parents and their children. It forms a lasting impression and reinforces to the children that they are loved and remembered, not forgotten. If not for this programme, these children who often experience a similar sense of shame, judgement and stigma (for a crime they did not commit) would miss out.
In Aotearoa, Angel Tree is a waharoa – a gateway of hope, where people can begin to heal and rediscover their identity, sense of belonging and life purpose to unlock their potential for a brighter future.