Christian Legal Society (CLS) has partnered with the Prison Fellowship, a Christian prison ministry founded by Chuck Colson, to volunteer for their Angel Tree Ministry. Angel Tree's mission is to connect incarcerated parents with their children through the delivery of Christmas gifts. This mission is advanced by volunteers who purchase and deliver gifts on behalf of parents who are incarcerated.
At the outset, Prison Fellowship provided CLS with information on the incarcerated parent, his/her child’s names, and the child’s caretakers' names. Angel Tree is special because it allows law student volunteers to call the inmate's spouse or significant other to verify if they are interested in receiving gifts and what type of gift the child would like. Through this experience volunteers are able to learn about the children and their caretakers on a personal level.
Law student volunteers from CLS hand-write Christmas cards with a message from the child’s parents and the child’s desired gift. These cards are then displayed on a Christmas tree in the law school’s lobby. All law students, staff, and faculty are invited to take a card off the tree and purchase the desired gift.
After finals are over in December, volunteers drive to the children's homes to personally deliver the gifts. While delivering the gifts the volunteers share the Gospel to the children and their caretakers. Although stressful, this is the most rewarding aspect of the ministry. The Angel Tree gift giving experience is rewarding, humbling and in line with the spirit of Christmas.