Salem, OR, Church Gives Christmas Presents to Children Whose Parents Are in Jail

(Photo: MOLLY J. SMITH / Statesman Journal)

While incarcerated, DeAnna Tapia spent two Christmas’ away from her children.

For her, being in prison was not her punishment, being away from her children was.

And 14 years ago, while Edith Martinez’s partner was in jail during the holidays, she was alone with three children just trying to make ends meet.

“There was no time for thinking about how I was going to celebrate Christmas, my gatherings or my gifts,” she said.

Through these struggles came Christmas of Hope, an event by Tabernáculo de Salem, where children of incarcerated parents or family members receive gifts on their behalf.

More than 200 children received gifts at the 3rd Annual Christmas of Hope on Saturday, Dec. 16.

It all starts with a sign-up sheet that is hung up in every pod at the Marion County Jail. Men and women are given a month to sign up their children to receive a gift.

Then the church figures out the budget. For this, the whole church comes together. Once the event approaches every family is willing to donate or sponsor a child, Martinez said.

“They may not have much, but for this cause to impact a life, they are willing to give.”

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SOURCE: Abby Luschei
Statesman Journal