Published November 27, 2014
By David Tuma, The Belton Journal
Angel Tree is a special project for children who have parents who are either in the Bell County Jail or in the state or federal prisons. Each year around 1,500 children receive Christmas presents and a message from a parent who is in jail. It is a special event for both.
It takes hours and hours of community work to make this project happen. Jeannette Kelley is again in charge of making Angel Tree a reality in Bell County. The Prison Fellowship Angel Tree program has been active in the Bell County area for 15 years and is coordinated through the J.A.I.L Ministry. It takes individuals, churches and organizations purchasing and delivering Christmas gifts to make the project a success.
Each child receives a gift or clothing item valued around $25 each. They also receive a message from the parent and a Christian gift. That gift is either a bible, Christian storybook, Christian CD or Christian jewelry.
“The gifts are delivered the week before Christmas,” Kelley said. “This is about children. We just tell the child this a gift from their parent. The Angel Tree Project helps both the child and the parent.”
The project is operated entirely by volunteers and is a faith-based Christmas project that involves hundreds of volunteers. It focuses on children from birth to 18 years of age. Children who are in the Juvenile Correction Center in Bell County are also included.
“About 20 organizations have signed up to help us,” Kelley said. “We need volunteers for the packing day on Dec. 16.”
Christian Farm/Tree House residents and their children are also included in the program. Most of the children receive three gifts of some kind.
Funding is needed to send some gifts out of state or out of Bell County. If you would like to volunteer or make a donation contact Kelley at (254) 718-4514.
Donations can be made to the J.A.I.L. Ministry Inc. P.O. Box 634, Belton, TX 76513. A phone committee has been started to make contact with each child’s caretaker to determine their wish of a toy or clothing item. The child’s name and wish is then written on an angel tag that can be displayed on a tree or bulletin board at local churches.
The Angel Tree Project is a Christian based project that can help change a life.