Jonathan was serving a 13-year prison sentence.
Since he arrived in prison, no one had been to visit. And no one at home was answering the phone or replying to his letters. It had been a whole year since the last contact from the outside. He felt isolated and abandoned.
Jonathan tells me, ‘I was helping out in the prison chapel and I remember the chaplain talking about Angel Tree — that I could send Christmas presents to my children. I thought, “I’ve not heard from my family for such a long time. Let’s see if this works for me.” I filled out the form, and wrote a note to my two young kids.
‘When Christmas Day arrived, I rang home. I’d not heard my children’s voices for so long. But this time, they picked up the phone and I spoke to them! The joy and delight they expressed was amazing. Angel Tree brought us back together! We started having more conversations. And they started coming to visit me. Angel Tree is what sparked that initial connection.’
And so you see the incredible impact an Angel Tree gift can have! Each personalised gift costs just £20, including postage and packing. Last year, more than 4,400 children were blessed with a gift from their parent in prison.
Can you help us bless even more children this year? From Tuesday 30th November, you have a chance to do just that. Thanks to a group of generous philanthropists who will match every gift we receive until our ‘pledge pot’ is empty, your donation of £20 will buy not just one gift, but two.
“Before, I was thinking of my future alone. But suddenly, I was thinking of my future with my family.” – Jonathan
You can double your gift by donating online at prisonfellowship.org.uk/x2 from midday on Tuesday 30th November.
Jonathan continues, ‘It’s very easy to see how Angel Tree benefits the children of prisoners. However, for me and many others in prison, it connected us with our families! Angel Tree changed my perspective.
‘Before, I was thinking of my future alone. But suddenly, I was thinking of my future with my family. That simple change made such a difference. Angel Tree gave me a new future! There are many temptations in prison. If you are thinking about your family and the impact your actions will have on them, you are much less likely to reoffend.’
And so, Jonathan is in no doubt about the impact of Angel Tree: ‘This Christmas, your donation can change a child’s life. Not only will they experience the joy and delight of receiving a present from their parent in prison on Christmas morning, but also that present has the potential to bring their family back together—just like it did for me!’