Gifts bought for children of inmates

William Thompson

Dozens of children in the Quay County area and surrounding counties will be receiving Christmas gifts in the mail from their fathers. The fathers of the children are incarcerated in prisons throughout the U.S. Judy Scott, a volunteer for Prison Fellowship Ministries, said two gifts for each child were purchased by volunteers as part of the ministry’s Angel Tree program.. “We tell the child that the gifts are from their father in the name of Jesus,” said Scott. “The men in prison can’t afford to buy gifts for their children, but we give them applications to fill out. On the applications, the inmates list their children’s clothing sizes and what kind of toys the children might want.”

Scott said she and her husband Joe got involved with Prison Fellowship Ministries in 1999. “A chaplain couple told us about the Angel Tree program and said volunteers were needed,” said Scott. “We send information on what the children need and members of churches in the area go out and buy the gifts. Around 40 people bought gifts in Tucumcari this year.” Scott said about 30 National Honor Society students in Fort Sumner bought gifts this year as well. She said children are excited to get gifts from their incarcerated fathers.. “Sometimes these gifts from the Angel Tree program are about the only gifts the child will get, but in homes where the child will get many gifts, the gifts from their dad in prison really mean a lot.”

Scott said the inmates routinely request coats or jackets for their children. “Besides clothing the most popular gift this year for the children is a portable CD music player,” said Scott. “Each gift costs around $15 to $20.”
Scott routinely visits the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility in Santa Rosa to help minister to inmates. She said the inmates there are thankful for the Angel Tree program.
“They get a big smile when they tell about what their children got for Christmas,” said Scott. “They feel like they have contributed to their child’s Christmas because they were able to make suggestions for gifts.” Seven Tucumcari youths showed up at an Angel Tree party at First Spanish Church Saturday. Scott said they were the only ones who could make it to the party to get their presents. “We delivered some presents to other Tucumcari children and we will be mailing presents to children in places like Fort Sumner, San Miguel County and even Cuba, New Mexico.” she said. “We had cake, ice cream and we all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus at the party.”

Scott said Bea Laredo of La Casa de la Hope helped prepare the way for the Prison Fellowship volunteers in Tucumcari. “When Judy Scott called me, other La Casa de la Hope board members and myself were able to go to churches and tell them about the Prison Fellowship Ministry,” said Laredo. Scott urges anyone wishing to help out in any aspect of prison ministries to call her at (505) 472-3069 or contact the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility Chaplain’s office.