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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2014

“I would never miss this party,” said one volunteer who has been coming to the OAR Project Christmas Angel Wrapping Party for years. “I love the fact that a personal note from the child’s parent is attached to each gift – which means the gift is from the parent, not from OAR! That tells the child that their mom or dad has not forgotten them,” she said.

Phyllis Johnson, who took photos for the evening remarked: “Look at this room. There is no racial, class, generational or gender division here. We are all here to help the children and in the process we help ourselves.”

Holidays are especially hard – for the parents and for the children. One of the parents in the Arlington Detention Center wrote a note on the form used to collect information about the children: “Thank you, OAR, for helping my child feel better while I’m incarcerated. It’s good to know that when you feel alone, there is someone who can help.”

Over 150 volunteers came to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Arlington to wrap presents for 295 children last week, December 15th. The wrapping party is a tradition that was started over 30 years ago and has continued each year since. This year, because of the incredibly successful Toy Drive in October, each child received three toys.

“We were so thrilled with the response during the Toy Drive from everyone throughout Arlington,” said Susan Olson, OAR Board member and Chair of the Toy Drive. “We had over 50 organizations participating this year, placing Toy Donation Boxes in locations around the county. We collected over 1,300 toys,” she said.

“Many children of incarcerated parents live with family members who are already financially strapped,” said OAR’s Chief Operating Officer, Elizabeth Jones. “Finding the means to purchase gifts for the children is often difficult or impossible. Providing toys helps to make a valuable connection between incarcerated parents and their children at an emotional time of year. And it brings together hundreds of volunteers who donate toys, wrap toys and then deliver them to the homes of these children,” she said.

You can still support by making a gift Make a Donation Now. Your gift of $25 or more will help to pay for Project Christmas Angel. When donating type in “Project Christmas Angel” or “PCA” on the message/comments section.

For more pictures of the event visit our Facebook Photo Album.

If you would like to be added to the mailing list for next year’s event, so you can be the first to know, please email info@oaronline.org

OAR is a community-based, 501 C (3) nonprofit organizations that serves Arlington County and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. OAR’s mission is to blend compassion and accountability to assist offenders in leading productive and responsible lives, to the benefit of all.

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