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Angel Tree helps jail inmates' kids get Christmas presents

Former female inmates help provide Christmas cheer at Grace House

SAN ANTONIO - A lot of parents may not be able to see their kids this Christmas, and nearly 5,000 of them are local parents who are counting on others to pitch in because they are behind bars.

Grace House, a home that takes in at-risk women who've been incarcerated, works with local churches that buy and wrap Christmas presents for kids.

Kristie Ramirez has been behind bars during Christmas.

"Knowing that there's less fortunate kids out there whose parents are incarcerated and can't do anything for them, that me, being incarcerated before, I step up to the plate and do the same thing for their kids," she said.

Kristie spent her first night out of jail at Grace House, where she learned about Angel Tree.

"My two roommates were telling me that they did Angel Tree, and come to find out they did it for my two youngest children, Kayla and Bishop," she said.

All the gifts children receive come with a tag saying the gift is from their mother in prison.

Heather Zinck has a similar story.

Formerly in jail, she is rebuilding her life at Grace House, and for the next week, she's working to help build the bond between incarcerated parents and their children at Christmas.

Fueling her drive is the memory of her own children benefitting from the program.

"Every time, without fail, they had gifts that were stated on the presents that were from me, and that was an awesome blessing," said Zinck, "It's just really cool to give back and to be able to be part of this for other people's children that are incarcerated. It's amazing."

As of Friday, there are still children in the San Antonio area who have not been assigned to a church or family. If you would like to help, call 210-493-7884.

Angel Tree is already accepting donations for next year's Christmas gift program. You can make a donation on their website.

For a list of recent stories that April Molina has done, click here.


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