Helping to strengthen family bonds under pressure, Mount Hawthorn St Peter Emmaus Church recently helped families with a parent in prison celebrate Christmas. Through Angel Tree, incarcerated parents can ask to send a gift to their child along with a hand written card as a way of celebrating Christmas together.
“It is nice because it is something the parent has done,” said Janine McDonald, a member of the congregation.
This year, Janine helped deliver gifts to 13 children aged between 20 months and 13 years. Age appropriate gifts were purchased on behalf of the congregation by Lea Tyson and her husband John. Along with these gifts, children were given The Story of Jesus, a comic about the life of Jesus.
Janine said that it is an important outreach where the church is able to show local families that they care.
“Our children are so fortunate. It’s important for us, as adults, to think of children who are less fortunate,” said Janine. “It must be really hard to not have that parent with them every day, let alone at Christmas.”
The program is also a way of reaching out to the parents in prison, letting them know that they are not forgotten and giving them an opportunity to keep their relationship with their children strong.
“It’s nice to be able to do something for the parent in prison,” said Janine. “Everybody makes mistakes. It’s just sad that theirs was big enough to put them in prison.”