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Angel Tree presents for prisoners’ children

Angel Tree presents for prisoners’ children

Children of prisoners throughout New Zealand will receive Christmas presents from their incarcerated parent this year, thanks to the Angel Tree project.

About 500 children In the Canterbury area which stretches from Kaikoura to Waimate will receive presents through Angel Tree which is a joint initiative of Prison Fellowship of New Zealand, PILLARS and Prisoners Aid & Rehabilitation Society.

“Inmates fill in an application form for presents for their children,” says Sam Sivertsen from PILLARS who is organising the project.

The requests are then placed on angels and attached to an Angel Tree in churches throughout the region. Congregation members can then take one and purchase the present for the prisoner’s child, on behalf of the prisoner parent.

“The presents are about $20 - $30 so it’s a great way for people to help children who may not receive many other presents during the festive season.”

Prisoners are also given the opportunity to hand-write cards to attach to the presents for their children.

“It’s just one way we can help prisoners’ children to feel less isolated and lonely at this time when other families can all be together to enjoy the Christmas festivities,” says Sam.

PILLARS is a community-based organisation that supports children of prisoners and works to preventing them committing crimes and ending up in prison themselves.

The 400 presents will be wrapped at the PILLARS offices in Christchurch on Thursday 6 December and will then be distributed to the churches to give to the children.

“The children are so happy to receive a gift from their parent even though they can’t be with them at Christmas time.”

Caption: Anja Buchmann wrapping presents for last year’s Angel Tree.


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