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Angel Tree program connects parents in prison to the children growing up without them

Angel Tree Christmas Program purchases gifts for children of incarcerated parents. (Photo Credit: Drew Moore/WSMH)

According to Pew Research one in every 28 kids are growing up with at least one parent in jail. The Angel Tree Christmas program in Flint helps to connect those that are locked up, and the children that are left to grow up without them. It’s organized by the Stacy Swimp Evangelical Association, and the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle. The group held a dinner for nearly two hundred children who have a parent who is locked up. But the evening came with a surprise Christmas gift too. The person who is incarcerated fills out a form to join the program with the names and ages of their children. A donor goes and purchases a gift, then signs the parents name on the present. Swimp says it’s a way to keep the parent and the child connected when their worlds are so far apart.

“Bad decisions by adults can affect generations in a single family. The Angel Tree Program is designed to provide moral, emotional, and spiritual support for them year around. We are really trying to provide the kind of love and support for them long-term. We hope by doing that we see a decrease in repeat offenders, and a ‘cradle to prison’ pipeline,” Swimp says.

Swimp says 182 gifts were donated for the program this year.

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