ChIPS: Children of Incarcerated Parents

Christmas comes to children of incarcerated parents every year with your help: you and sponsors like you who donate gifts and funds to make it happen! Both the families and the incarcerated parents themselves are deeply grateful for the opportunity that the ChIPs program affords them.

Once the presents are sorted, they’re brought to the prisons, and the inmates get the chance to choose one gift for each child on their list. Usually the inmate is a parent and sometimes a grandparent. Sometimes even a big brother or sister.

Children of prison inmates live lonely lives. It’s easy to believe that a parent you never see doesn’t care. Inmates also find themselves isolated and abandoned, unable to provide for or be a part of their families. Being able to give their children a Christmas gift gives inmates an opportunity for connection and a sliver of normalcy in their families.

Studies show that parolees are significantly more likely to integrate back into society if they maintain relationships with their families. ChIPs creates positive experiences on which to build a foundation for those relationships.

At the Men’s Prison in Concord, once the gift is chosen, volunteers wrap it. The prison then throws a party! The family visits, and the inmates are able to give presents to their children. The ChIPs program also includes an age-appropriate book to go with each gift, helping to promote literacy within this underprivileged population.

There are many ways you can help:

  1. Purchase a gift or contribute $20. (Make checks out to Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire with the memo ChIPS.)
  2. Volunteer to collect gifts and serve as your parish’s contact.
  3. Sort gifts a Blass Clubhouse at St. Paul’s School in mid-November
  4. Wrap gifts at the Men’s State Prison in Concord (Date TBD).

Deadline: Sunday, November 1

Contact (information or volunteering) Maggie Ciancio, (603) 432-7679, maggie.ciancio@gmail.com