For the second year in a row Caritas Westminster has teamed up with Pact and Angel Tree to ensure children who have a parent in prison can still receive a Christmas gift from them.
All three organisations recognise the value of family life, especially in difficult circumstances. Providing presents for prisoners to give to their children not only ensures that children will have something to unwrap on Christmas day but also promotes the bond between parent and child and allows prisoners to be more active parents. Caritas Westminster and PACT began this initiative in 2016, with seven parishes and one school providing gifts for over 300 children.
This year, more parishes and diocesan staff have joined the effort to ensure even more children receive a gift at Christmas. Parishes were given a of list names and ages and a budget to buy gifts for children who have a parent in prison. The gifts are then collected by PACT and Angel Tree and wrapped, before being taken to family days at prisons around London and Hertfordshire to be given to children by their parents. In some cases the presents will be posted to the children with a message from their parent.
Caritas Development worker Silvana Dallanegra RSCJ said ‘It is such a joy to be able to work on this project. parishes have been so generous in their gift buying, really thinking about what these children want. It is important we do not forget the effect of having a parent in prison has on these children, especially at a time year so focused on family’