The journey of an Angel Tree gift through the Northern Territory is long and meandering. The children receiving gifts may live with extended family in remote Aboriginal communities, hundreds if not thousands of kilometres from a town or city. This raises a challenge: how can Prison Fellowship find volunteers or a local church to provide these presents to remote locations?
Last Christmas our Prison Fellowship team devised a plan so that no child would miss receiving a Christmas present from their parent in prison. We decided that all children who live in Alice Springs would receive presents from the volunteers who live in Alice Springs, and those living in remote communities would receive a gift in the post, sent from the Adelaide office. Thankfully, due to the donation of presents from individuals, Influencers Church, CMI Toyota and FrosTec Pty. Ltd, all the needs of South Australian and Northern Territorian children were met.
Community Benefit in the Northern Territory generously granted funds that assisted in the postage from Adelaide. Although remote communities may be at different ends of the Territory, many of these gifts were sent to Alice Springs initially. They were shipped to smaller towns with other mail and resources needed by remote communities, to be delivered once a week or sometimes even less frequently.
Logistically, this caused some concern to the Prison Fellowship team, so a member of staff, Rochelle, decided to telephone many of the parents early in 2019 just make sure the gifts got through!
“I was quite careful initially, because I didn’t know what the response would be like, but I was surprised that it was all positive! One of the carers I spoke with was a grandmother of many children, who spoke to me from the local phone box! She told me how much the children in her care appreciated the presents,” Rochelle said.
“Another person’s children were so delighted, she asked to find out more about Prison Fellowship and how she could get involved herself! Her questions and eagerness led me to believe nothing has been done before in this remote area, so that was very encouraging.”