Bill Hybels’s Willow Creek Church Packs and Delivers 70,000 Gifts to ‘Forgotten’ Prisoners

A few years ago, Willow Creek Community Church had a vision to give Christmas presents to every inmate in an Illinois prison. This year alone, the church packed and delivered 70,000 presents to prisoners.

The vision came after Bill Hybels, the founder of Willow Creek, read Matthew 25:35-36 and felt particularly moved to fulfill the instruction to visit prisoners. Being remembered (let alone visited) is a huge felt need for inmates, who sometimes feel so forgotten it’s “like you ain’t even in the world no more,” according to one young man.

In the video above, you can see the sanctuary of Willow Creek’s campus in Illinois transformed into a makeshift North Pole workshop as members sit and stand in the rows to assemble 70,000 gift packs.

Tom and Wendy Horton are members of Willow Creek who have worked with inmates for about 13 years. “They’re kind of a forgotten bunch of people that are out of sight and out of mind,” Tom says. Tom and Wendy are seen in the video above visiting inmates and passing out the present packs from Willow Creek. One inmate says the couple is like a mother and father to him.

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SOURCE: Church Leaders – Megan Briggs