The newly reorganized Oceana/Mason County Inmate & Family Ministries (OMCI&FM) will be offering an Angel Tree ministry to inmates of the Mason and Oceana County Jails.

The Oceana ministry will also include families of parents in the MDOC prison system. The OMCI&FM Angel Tree Program follows the guidelines of Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree Program. The success of this annual program is dependent on the participation of churches and/or families to “adopt a child”/family and shop for the gifts requested for the children by the inmate parents.

Organizers have approval for a distribution center in each county for families to pick up gifts and food baskets at a “Christmas Party” on Saturday, Dec. 19. In Mason County the distribution location will be hosted by Cornerstone Baptist Church from 10:00-11:30 a.m. In Oceana County, Hart Wesleyan Church will be the distribution location on the same day but in the afternoon, 2:00-3:30 p.m.

Besides shopping/buying and wrapping gifts, help is needed at the Christmas Party to register families, to serve refreshments, and to distribute the gifts and food boxes. Covid-19 procedures will be followed for workers and families.

In 2019, the Oceana County Angel Tree Program reached 70 children and 31 families. This included 23 children of prisoners from Oceana County in the State Prison System. The Mason County Jail Angel Tree Program reached 23 children and 14 families.

The 2019 program cost for two jails was just over $2,900. The gifts and food items given benefited over 225 family members. Financial support for the annual Angel Tree Program has come from local churches, individuals, businesses and the summer worship services at Ludington State Park.

A donation of $30 will “adopt a child” for the holidays. Tax-deductible checks can be written to OMCI&FM and sent to OMCI&FM, P.O. Box 807, Hart, MI 49420.

The active members of the Oceana/Mason County Inmate & Family Ministries (OMCJM) include volunteer chaplains, pastors, and ministry workers trained to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in public opportunities. Services offered to inmates include Bibles, Bible studies, small group worship/studies, one-on-one mentoring, Christian literature, book lending library, and a prayer chain connection.

However, with COVID-19, jail access has not been allowed since March 2020. Continued community prayers are encouraged for any issues dealing with, or affected by, the virus. Family services include Angel Tree Program and Summer Camp Scholarships. Further information about Angel Tree or OMCI&FM services can be obtained by contacting Chaplain Jerry Thorne at (231)425-3693 or jerrythorne@charter.net.

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