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James Island church gifts Christmas presents for children with parents in prison

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - For 18 years, Sannie Cook has had a taste of heaven.

A member of Harbor View Presbyterian Church, and longtime Angel Tree volunteer, each year Cook comes face to face with angels.

"These kids are, they're special," she said.  "They didn't ask for this to happen to them."

The James Island church joins a host of others nationwide, participating in the Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program.

Volunteers purchase Christmas presents for children under the age of 18, on behalf of an incarcerated parent.

This year, Harbor View Presbyterian Church adopted forty lowcountry children from James and Johns Island, buying two gifts per child, valued at $15 each.

"The reason I like the Angel Tree so much is we're helping people our own community, in our own zip code," said Cook.

Parents signed up for the program over the summer, with the option of choosing gifts from a catalog, or having a guardian submit requests.

Gifts also contain a personal message from mom or dad, to their child.

Cook says the longtime program has created a bond among church volunteers and area families, and was nearly brought to tears when thinking back on the reaction of one 12-year-old girl.

"She looked at that tag, and she said my Daddy gave me a gift, and he loves me."

This week, a grateful mother, penned a letter to Harbor View in thanks.  Cook says the church receives three or four each year.

"I really appreciate what your church is doing for my babies," the letter read.

"May God continue to bless each and every one of you!"

Children will all receive their gifts during a special party Thursday, but are asked not to open them until Christmas morning.

"It just means everything," Cook added.  "It's Christmas!"

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