FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 26, 2016
Fifth Annual Christmas to Remember
COVINGTON, La., Sunday, Nov. 26, 2016 — First Baptist Church of Covington, La. will be hosting the fifth annual Christmas to Remember on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. The event will take place at St. Tammany Parish Jail.
Christmas to Remember is an annual event done in partnership between First Baptist Church Covington and the St. Tammany Parish Jail. It is designed to bring incarcerated fathers together with their children for the holidays in a meaningful way. The goal of the event is to help begin the process of healing in preparation for the inmates to be released and reunited with their families.
Recognizing that a large percentage of prisoners, once released, often return to a life of incarceration; this program seeks to help with the transition of returning home into a life of stability. Pastor and coordinator, Glynn Robinson, explains, “It is only a beginning step but valuable in that it ‘breaks the ice’ between fathers and children who may not have seen each other for a long period of time. Often, we are seeing fathers and children who have never had a conversation with one another or in some cases never have spent any time together due to difficulties in visiting or the children may have even been born while the father has been in jail.”
While the kids are with their dads, there is a special program for the caregivers. It is a program designed to give encouragement to the people that give constant care to the children. The program offers insight into parenting and grand parenting, allowing them to share difficulties as well as the victories they have parenting in the absence of a father.
Volunteers can sign up to work as hosts of the event and sit at tables with the families. They help with crafts, serve food, and keep the fathers engaged in spending quality time with the children. Volunteers can also donate toys for the event.
The fathers are able to choose from selection of donated gifts and give them to their children for Christmas. First Baptist Church collects hundreds of toys for children of all ages. The toys are brought to the jail a few days before the event where volunteers assist the inmates in choosing and wrapping gifts for their children. During the main event, the fathers give the gifts to the kids, and they unwrap them together. Robinson states, “It is a special time where kids receive something from their father. One child said to me ‘This is the first thing my father ever gave to me. I’m going to keep it somewhere special.’”
“Over the years we have watched this event become a time where children become comfortable being with their fathers again or even for the first time. The chaplains and social workers use this event as one of the initial steps in beginning the process of entry back into society for the inmates. They know that without significant effort many prisoners walk back into the life they were in prior to prison. Connecting with their children can be a step into helping them see that there are many reasons to step away from those destructive lifestyles,”says Robinson.
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First Baptist Church of Covington is Baptist Church located in Covington, La. It offers the community a variety of ministries and events catering to various groups. First Baptist Church offers church services on Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays 8:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., and 11 a.m.
For additional information on Christmas to Remember, visit the kiosk hosted by Contempo in the Foyer of First Baptist Church Covington or contact Glynn Robinson firstname.lastname@example.org or Darlene Drivon email@example.com