In 1982, former prisoner Mary Kay Beard began setting up Christmas trees in shopping malls and asking shoppers to donate presents for the children of prisoners. That year, Project Angel Tree gave gifts to 556 Alabama children. Since then, volunteers in churches across the country have given more than 16.5 million gifts for over 8 million children.
But her life wasn't always about giving to others. As a young woman, Mary Kay was known as the "Bonnie Parker" of the south. By the age of 27 she was wanted by both federal and state authorities for armed robbery. Her specialty was guns. Captured and convicted, she was sentenced to 21 years in an Alabama prison. There she said, she watched other inmates wrap items such as bars of soap, toothpaste and shampoo (all obtained from local charities) as presents for their children. She vowed to do something about it. The result of her vision is Project Angel Tree, a nationwide charity, sponsored by Prison Fellowship.
Listen to May Kay's amazing story at: http://www.marykaybeard.com/
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For more stories about women in prison visit my website: http://www.TheWomenOfBlock12.com
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