Angel Tree Prison Fellowship is a national ministry for children whose parent or parents are incarcerated. It starts in the prison with the chaplain, who asks the inmates, both male and female, if they would like to have their children included in the Angel Tree Prison Fellowship. These names then go to the National Angel Tree directory, where they are processed and sent to the states and counties where the families reside. At the state level, the lists are given to churches that would like to participate in this ministry.
The Sierra Vista United Methodist Church has been part of this ministry since 2000. Kathy Marvin, church coordinator for Angel Tree, receives the list of inmates and their families every October. The Angel Tree is put up in Fellowship Hall in November with the children’s names and requests for clothing and toys, along with a personal message from the parent. Church members then choose an “Angel” from the tree and buy gifts, which are distributed to the children in December.
Throughout the year, children receive birthday cards from SVUMC. The Angel Tree Back-To-School Program begins every year in July. Church members choose a back pack or school bag and fill it with school supplies. These are then distributed to the families the first part of August.
Interested persons can help in several ways: Volunteers are needed to write or call the families, assemble the gifts, and, finally, distribute the gifts and visit with the families. Donations are always welcome. Checks can be made out to Sierra Vista United Methodist Church, earmarked “Angel Tree.” Contact Kathy Marvin at 803-6697 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to volunteer.