Detroit — The Christmas season can be tough for children whose parents are incarcerated. One local sorority chapter reached out Saturday to those children with its annual Angel Tree Celebration.

The Tau Alpha Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority served lunch to more than 30 Metro Detroit children afternoon at the Hotel St. Regis.

The children, ranging from birth to 17 years old, also received gifts selected by their incarcerated parents, organizers said.

"During the holiday, it can be really trying for the kids," said Lynda Dandridge, social justice committee chair. "If they get a present from their parent, they feel closer to them."

This is the fourth year the chapter has partnered with Prison Fellowship Ministries for the event. Nationally, the Angel Tree program celebrated its 31st anniversary this year.

Guests for the event included Paws the Tiger, Kuddles the Clown and Santa Clause. There was also a photo booth.

"When they come to Hotel St. Regis they think they're downtown," Dandridge said. "When they see it set up, they really feel that somebody made an effort for them."

A third of prisoners are parents, and 1.7 million children have a parent in prison, according to Prison Fellowship Ministries.

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