Fellowship provides gifts for prisoners’ children

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 15, 2003

There are actually two &uot;Angel Tree&uot; programs operating in the Selma area during this Christmas season &045; Salvation Army and Prison Fellowship &045; and sometimes there is confusion, but both serve the same cause, providing Christmas gifts to children who otherwise might not have them.

The Salvation Army program is well-established and has been in place in the Selma area for at least 20 years. The program of the same name sponsored by Prison Fellowship, the national group which provides ministry to prisoners and their families begun by Watergate figure Chuck Colson, has only been in operation for a few years in Selma and is essentially the project of one church &045; The Cathedral of Christ the King Charismatic Episcopal Church. Nationally, the Prison Fellowship program was started about the same time as the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

Cindy Pfeister, whose husband Gary is a deacon on staff of the Christ the King, described the program in a recent interview. The church provides gifts for 25 &uot;angels.&uot;

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It is remarkably similar to the Salvation Army program in that area Prison Fellowship officials provide the names of children, one or both of whose parents are incarcerated. Along with names come gender, sizes and a suggested gift for the child.

Christ the King is in the middle of an expansion program, so space does not permit a tree, but as soon as the second building is completed, Pfeister said the church will have a tree. Angels are selected by church members, gifts of clothing and toys are purchased in the $40-50 range and then volunteers gather to wrap the gifts and put them in containers for pickup by the families of angels at the church, located at 1204 Highland Ave., at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 21. Deliveries are made when parents cannot pick up their children’s gifts, Pfeister said.

Pfeister is overwhelmed by the beauty of the gift-giving, not only for the recipients but for the givers as well. &uot;We see the hearts of the givers and the receivers. We’re blessed at both ends,&uot; she said.