Friday, December 30, 2016

Service Project: Angel Tree

Cookie sales are right around the corner.  As your troop decides how to spend profits this year, I invite your girls to consider making a financial contribution to a program like Prison Fellowship. According to their website, 2.2 million men and women are incarcerated. 95% of prisoners are released, meaning 600,000 will return to their communities this year.  Two out of three will be rearrested, leaving 2.7 million children with a parent in prison.

One of the many ways this organization helps prisoners is through Angel Tree
Several churches team up with this national organization to provide unique gifts to children with an incarcerated parent.  I described the process in detail in this blog postMany caregivers request socks and underwear, coats, and pajamas as the clothing gift.  Often, families will suggest two clothing gifts, providing sizes and favorite colors or characters.  Our family has been involved with this program at our church for years.  Our daughters enjoy choosing tags for kids around their ages who have requested coats or pajamas.  Both girls sit at my laptop with a calculator, and we shop on  Through this service project, our kids have practiced the valuable life skill of working within a budget as well as learning to save money through the use of coupons.  

By participating in Angel Tree, Girl Scouts can satisfy steps for the following badges (please note this is not an all-inclusive list):
Daisy--Making Choices and Talk It Up
Brownies--Money Manager, Give Back, and Philanthropist
Cadette--Budgeting and Comparison Shopping

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I heard a Angel Tree radio announcement: there were still 29,000 children who would love to receive a gift from their incarcerated parents.  Though Christmas is behind us, you can still make an impact.  In addition to providing Christmas gifts to children with an incarcerated parent, Angel Tree offers additional ways to get involved throughout the year.  For example, prisoners' children have an opportunity to go to Angel Tree Summer Camp.  When you donate today, “a matching grant will help reach TWICE as many children.”  The matching grant expires at midnight on December 31, 2016.  Wishing you all a fun and safe New Year!

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