Feedback from Angel Tree 2018
“My daughter loves her horse toy and my son was so grateful I hadn’t forgotten him. He was amazed with the quality. Thank you so so much. You have made my family feel close and loved. I’m forever grateful, God bless you all.” – parent in prison
I wish I could invite each of you into our office, sit you down at one of the desks and put a stack of Angel Tree feedback cards in front of you to read (I’d make you a cup of tea while you’re reading). Every time I do it, I end up reading so many out to the office and weeping over a good number too.
Since that’s not possible, we have pulled out some of them to share with you today. It might feel like Christmas was a long time ago, but the impact of the gifts that you fundraised for, bought, wrapped, prayed over and put in the post is ongoing.
Like for the carer, who ticked the “rarely” box for how often one little girl had contact with her dad in prison, but also ticked the “often” box, writing underneath “before gift” and “after gift” to explain.
As we read through the comments, a few themes came out. Firstly, gratitude. Prisoners and carers alike were stunned and grateful that there were people like you who wanted to make sure their kids got a gift at Christmas.
“Thank you so much. My daughter couldn’t believe that the prison elves could send presents from Mummy.” – mother in prison
“Angel Tree are amazing, very well wrapped and the Gran-children were exceptionally happy as I was, and jealous, could never wrap as splendid as you did.” – a carer at home
“Thank you so much. You have brought a lot of smiles on my children’s faces. I cannot thank you enough. Keep up the good work at this time.” – parent in prison
Feeling known and loved
Secondly, there was an immense appreciation for how personalised the gifts were. So many mentioned the handwritten gift tag from the parent in prison, and the fact that it was “just what she wanted – she was pleased that Dad knew what she liked.” It is incredibly significant that their parent remembers them, misses them, but especially knows them well enough to pick the right present; it is the very reason why we structure the programme this way, instead of mass-buying gifts for a particular age group or gender. Children feel loved when they feel known.
“Very happy as came with Daddy’s hand written labels so made it very personal. Excellent, heartfelt service. Thank you so much xxx” – a carer at home
“All 3 of my boys received Lego sets – they all love Lego so we absolutely delighted. Thank you so much for the work that you do; going over and beyond any expectations.” – a carer at home
Lastly, it was the JOY in the midst of heartache that leaps out at you from so many cards. Children who’ve had their lives uprooted as a result of a parents’ prison sentence are given a moment of delight: “I still can’t get over the beautiful reaction on my child’s face”, wrote one carer.
“My child was extremely happy when she received the gift and I think it was a lovely idea and amazing that you are doing this for people. I still can’t get over the beautiful reaction on my child’s face. Keep up the good work and I can’t thank you enough!” – a carer at home
“Thank you very much, being in prison at Christmas is hard for my children, them being able to receive a present from me made their day! So thank you!!” – a parent in prison
“Both loved the gifts, made me feel like I was with them Christmas day!” – a parent in prison
So thank you.
We increased the number of gifts we sent out this year, sending an incredible 4886 gifts to children from 2601 parents in 91 prisons! And that is thanks to you. Thank you to our volunteer Angel Tree Coordinators who put so much time and work into the administration that needs to happen to make the programme happen while safeguarding the families. Thank you to every volunteer and supporter who bought and fundraised for presents, wrapped presents, prayed over them as they got sent out.
You may not get to see the impact directly, but I hope that these quotes have given you an insight into the massive impact you are having on families who are separated by a prison sentence.
It costs just £20 to enable a child to receive a Christmas present from their mum or dad in prison. Your donation brings joy to families separated by a prison sentence.
If you are interested in volunteering as part of the Angel Tree programme, you can find out more about our volunteer application process here.
Photo is of a model. Source: Caroline Hernandez.