Church provides presents for disadvantaged children

Angel tree

Maria Salazar organizes gifts from Prison Fellowship International’s angel tree program at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Crestview. Children with incarcerated parents will receive the gifts.

MATTHEW BROWN | News Bulletin
Published: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 02:47 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Twenty-two children know someone’s thinking of them while their parents are in prison.

St. Mark United Methodist Church donated presents to kids with parents incarcerated at nearby correctional facilities. Many of the kids’ caregivers can’t afford Christmas presents, church members said.

Prison Fellowship International, a worldwide Christian-based organization, presented the angel tree program, asking local churches to donate Christmas gifts.

PFI assigned 22 area children, ages 1 to 11, with incarcerated parents. Each child’s name, age and sex appeared on angel ornaments hanging from several Christmas trees within the church.

Throughout December, church members selected an angel ornament and bought some 80 gifts.

The response impressed program coordinator Maria Salazar.

"This church did more than was asked for," Salazar said. “We actually had people asking if there were more children to buy presents for. We simply (said) there wasn't.”

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