BY SHANNON WILEY
Salisbury University’s Volunteer Center has teamed up with Angel Tree this holiday season, to give students a change to help the children of people in prison.
Angel Tree is a Christian program through Prison Fellowship that helps prisoners connect with their children in order to remind them that they have not forgotten about them. The program visits prisons in which parents will sign up their children for the program.
The program receives from the prisoners the names of the parents as well as the caregiver’s name and contact information. The parents and the caregivers give the coordinator a list of gift suggestions that includes everything from new clothes to toys. Likewise, the parents write a note that will be given to the kids with their gifts.
“It supposed to be a healing process so that the kids are like ‘okay my mom or dad still loves me, they haven’t abandoned me,’” Volunteer Center Graduate Assistant Samantha Beck said.
This year, SU signed up to provide for 100 children. From there the volunteer center, headed by Beck, had to contact the caregivers to verify the information they were given and to receive gift suggestions from them.
Despite multiple attempts to reach all of the caregivers through phone calls and letters, 25 did not respond, leaving 75 for SU to supply for.
“Sometimes reaching the caretakers of the kids is difficult because may they have to move a lot,” Beck said.
Beck set up sign-up sheets around campus where people can adopt angels. Some individuals got involved, as well as some groups of people as well as full dormitories.
“I think it’s just nice for them to give back,” Beck said. “You kind of overlook how much that you actually have, but when it comes down to it these kids don’t even have their parents at home. If they don’t get a present from this, they may not get a present at all. It’s kind of a humbling experience, I would say, and I think it’s important to be thankful for what we have, and remember to give back to those who have less.”
The originally final date for donations was today, but will be extended until Wednesday to give more time for more kids to be donated to while also leaving enough time for Beck and others to deliver the gifts to all of the children before the end of the semester.