TDOC Seeks Help For Children of Inmates

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | 03:14 pm

NASHVILLE - Sociologist call them some of the most at-risk children in America today.  In Tennessee, there are thousands of children with incarcerated parents. 

"Perhaps the toughest part is the most basic, growing up without a parent or with either a mother or father or both locked away in a cell," said Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley.  "The holidays present a particularly difficult time for these kids."

That is why the Tennessee Department of Correction and Prison Fellowship have teamed up again this holiday season to help the children of inmates. 

The Prison Fellowship Angel Tree program helps connect community volunteers with families of prisoners.  The public's help is desperately needed in this effort.  Prisoners sign up for their children to receive Christmas gifts from volunteers on behalf of the incarcerated parent.

"When kids receive a Christmas gift from a parent who's away, they know that they are loved and remembered even i they can't be together," said TDOC Volunteer Services Director Richard Dixon.  "When Jesus said if you give unto the least of these, you give unto me, I think he was talking about the fatherless and the motherless.  It reminds me that giving a simple gift is more than a donation it's about the heart of Christmas.  Angel Tree remembers the least of these."

There are nearly 2,000 unsponsored children statewide this year, including 400 in Nashville.  To make a donation by mail, please send your check to:  Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 1077, Hendersonville, Tennessee  37077 or call (615) 989-1455.