An Angel Tree Christmas | 8/21/2019 | Website
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By Susan H.

On December 14, 2018, I volunteered to be a part of an Angel Tree Christmas party for the children of incarcerated parents. I had heard about these events that give Christmas gifts to children on behalf of their incarcerated parent, but due to my busy schedule I previously hadn’t been able to attend. After my experience in December, I will now make it an annual priority! It will remain one of my most cherished memories serving in a ministry.

Doors - Saddleback - Church - Anaheim - Campus

As I walked through the doors to serve at Saddleback Church’s Anaheim campus, I immediately felt a spirit of joy and celebration from all of the volunteers. We had the unique privilege of walking alongside various caregivers, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who raise the children left behind by imprisoned parents. The event team had decorated the church into a Christmas wonderland for these families. At the door they were welcomed with a Christmas caroling team and greeters. The children were immediately given red Christmas stockings, which by the end of the night were full of little toys and candies.

I spoke to several families who told me how much the children look forward to the Angel Tree celebration each year—a meaningful tradition. I heard many expressions of gratitude for the churches that serve in this way. Several families expressed how much they want to stay connected to the church throughout the year.

Children - Games - Volunteers - Face - Painting

The children enjoyed playing games with the volunteers, receiving face painting and hair coloring, and making crafts and Christmas cards for their mom or dad in prison. Everyone also enjoyed a meal together in the main sanctuary along with worship and many stage presentations. I was reminded of the Nutcracker play through all of the scenes of hip-hop dancers, a magician, and a special performance from a local high...
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