Angel Tree – Information for volunteers

Angel Tree® is designed to reach the innocent victims of crime who are often forgotten…children of prisoners. Being separated from a parent at Christmas time is a painful experience. Angel Tree® touches those children with the love of Christ at Christmas by providing them with special Christmas gifts. Members of local churches volunteer to sponsor these children by purchasing a gift based on information gathered by PF volunteers and prison chaplains.

Angel Tree Queensland Coordinator Glenise Dagwell gives an overview of important guidelines for volunteers.

Here are the essential links for volunteers who do not yet have a Blue Card:

PFQ Child Safe Procedures 2016 

  • DO NOT announce names of Carers or children in Church Services. Ensure their privacy at all times. All information relating to carers and children is to be returned to the Church Coordinator and destroyed at the completion of Angel Tree project.(Prison Fellowship Australia Policy). 
  • People delivering gifts will require a Blue Card. Names to be retained on a list and made available to Prison Fellowship Qld for National compliance. Privacy of the carer is to be respected.
  • Be Open. Quickly identify yourself, your Church and your intentions to provide Christmas gifts for the child/children.
  • Be sensitive to the fears of a prisoner’s family member. Often families live in fear of the police, bill collectors, spouses’ friends or criminal involvement. To them you are just another stranger who might want something from the prisoner or who might cause them trouble.
  • Listen carefully to what the person says. Hear the tone of the voice and the emotion behind the voice. If the person is angry or hostile, don’t take it personally.
  • Many times a family won’t want to be associated with the family member who is in prison. This may result in a refusal to participate. If the family refuses the offer, let the coordinator know so they can write it up on the report form.
  • Remember to be kind, patient and encouraging. This is a wonderful chance to be an example of Christ’s love.
  • Deliveries should be done in twos and it is preferable not to enter the premises and remain visible from the street at all times.
  • Be aware that you will be delivering to homes of people with varying income levels, including the wealthy.
  • Immediately give your name and Church’s name to the person who answers the door.
  • In front of the child, DO NOT mention that the absent parent is in prison. In many cases the child does not know where the parent is or understands why he or she is gone.
  • Give the gifts to an adult if possible and say, “These gifts are for ………………. His/her, Father/mother asked us to deliver them.”
  • If the family invites you in, be friendly and explain you have quite a number of deliveries still to do. Thank them for their kind invitation and offer Christmas blessings.
  • Be cautious and do not respond negatively.
  • Clearly identify yourself, the Church you are from and why you are there to deliver Christmas gifts to the child/children.
  • If the family member opens the door but insists you leave, then say “Happy Christmas, and God bless – these gifts are from (child’s mother/father).
  • If the door is not opened you could ask if you could leave the gifts. If OK, wish them a Happy Christmas, leave the gifts at the door and say that you are now leaving.