When Human Resources team leader Theresa Faulkner could no longer move freely around her office, it was clear that Roscoe's annual Christmas toy drive had been a success.
"I can't even get to my file cabinets," she said.
A mountain of baby dolls and a fleet of remote-control cars barred the way. There were Transformers, art supplies, an Easy-Bake Oven, and boxes rattling with Legos.
The toys were on their way to 30 neighborhood children between the ages of two and 14, as part of the "Angel Tree" program operated in Chicago by Celestial Ministries, in partnership with Prison Fellowship, to collect toys and gifts for the children of an incarcerated parent.
Help for Children at Risk
As many as 186,000 children in Illinois have an incarcerated parent, a hardship that studies have linked to increased risks of poverty, homelessness, anxiety, and depression.
Roscoe Team members have been participating for about the past 10 years, said Faulkner, who oversees the effort. The program sends them a list of neighborhood children matched with the gift an incarcerated parent has requested for them.
Roscoe employees either contribute money or take on the task of "adopting" and shopping for one of the children themselves. This year, Faulkner was matched with a 7-year-old girl, whose parent had requested a doll.
The effort begins in mid-November and concludes a month later when the gifts are picked up and distributed to the children through local churches. "It's just really heartwarming," she said.
Support Angel Tree
Founded in 1982 by an ex-prisoner who witnessed firsthand the strained relationship between prisoners and their children, Angel Tree has grown to become the largest national outreach specifically for the children of prisoners.
You can help: you can register or donate to Angel Tree here. Watch the video below to see how important your donation is:
We are very proud to support Angel Tree and these children. We hope you will join us in any way that you can.