TULSA, Okla. — Planning is underway for the effort to get Christmas presents to every child with at least one parent incarcerated in Oklahoma.
Prison Fellowship held its first Tulsa area meeting at the Galilee Baptist Church on Tuesday to begin planning for this year's Angel Tree program.
Oklahoma has some of the highest incarceration rates in the U.S. -- especially among women. Therefore, officials feel there is more pressure on Prison Fellowship's Oklahoma network than there is on other states of this size.
Planning and organizing are expected to take months.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is currently sending out its annual survey of inmates to determine who has children and how many they have.
The survey is due in early September.
When the final tally is taken, Prison Fellowship will need at least one church in each Oklahoma county to adopt children living in their nearby zip codes for the program.
In the Tulsa area, Galilee Baptist Church will be the church leading the effort to get as many congregations signed up to help as possible.
Oklahoma Field Director Teresa Standfield told FOX23 that the goal is more than just Christmas presents. She says each child is expected to be given year-round care for camps and other programs to keep them on the right track.
Prison Fellowship estimates 70 percent of children in Oklahoma who have at least one parent in prison are at risk of going to prison themselves.
Galilee Pastor Anthony McMillon has been delivering Angel Tree gifts for 15 years. He told FOX23 that one gift makes a difference.
"It shows them that they are not alone and that someone cares about them," McMillon said.
"Imagine waking up Christmas morning and finding nothing there, and you're already without your mom or dad. It's easy to feel that society doesn't care about you, and it's those feelings that can often start them down the wrong road."
To sign your church or yourself up, Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program has a Facebook page, and you can directly e-mail email@example.com
© 2020 Cox Media Group