To Karen Morrow, co-chairperson of the Angel Tree charity project at Grace Bible Church in New Franklin, everyone deserves a second chance and help along the way.
This Christmas season, she and 20 volunteers helped deliver presents to children who have a parent in prison. They also deliver gift cards to the parent in the home and encourage them to pray and become involved in the church.
"Anyone can be reformed," Morrow said. "Some people take a bad turn in life; it could happen to anyone."
Angel Tree, a program of Prison Fellowship, is a national charity. As the website states, many children with parents in prison wonder if their parents still love them. The fellowship is designed to address feelings of abandonment and shame and reach out to them with the love of Christ. A total of 2.7 million children nationwide have parents in prison, according to the Prison Fellowship website.
Morrow said that Grace Bible Church has been a part of Angel Tree for 10 years. The national group identifies the family in need and provides the zip codes. Grace Bible Church receives the list of families in need in and around the church.
"Our church members plan ahead starting in November and start bringing gifts to the Angel Tree based on needs," Morrow said. "I have no pictures of the huge pile of gifts, but I have stories."
During the delivery before Christmas Day, she said some of the teen volunteers were very moved by the reactions of the children to receiving the gifts.
"One young girl was holding a picture of her father who is in prison," Morrow said. "We pray with the families,."
The deliveries to 64 families, with 123 children, takes some planning and Morrow said special thanks goes to Jim Swartwood, who does the tedious work of locating and mapping each home. Kathy Beall, another church volunteer, helps Morrow co-chair the project.
"Some years, we have some of the same families and each year we have new families in need," Morrow said. "I am so blessed to be a part of Angel Tree. It is why I do it. ... The goal is to help these families through prayer and accepting Christ into their lives to change their lives for the better."
Morrow encourages other local churches to get involved with Angel Tree. More information can be found on the website, www.prisonfellowship.org/about/angel-tree.
Anybody wishing to get involved with the program at Grace Bible Church can contact Morrow at the church at 330-882-4416.