Christmas cards turn rural children into artists

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Christmas trees hung with oranges and wreaths with strawberries. Such are the images that blossomed when children in rural Florida sat to draw Christmas scenes.  Now, their artwork adorns Christmas cards, which are available to the public in a charity fundraising project.

All the child artists attend charter schools or after-school programs run by Immokalee-based Redlands Christian Migrant Association, a branch of which can be found in Fellsmere. The nonprofit RCMA, funded primarily by federal and state grants, uses profits from the card sales to enhance its two charter schools and 80 childcare centers.

Cards must be ordered by Wednesday, December 15. This is the campaign’s 13th year and, for the first time, the card selection includes timeless birthday and thank-you cards.

“Having your art on a Christmas card is a big deal,” said Barbara Mainster, RCMA’s executive Director. “These kids plunged into it!”

RCMA serves the rural poor, and the Christmas scenes reflect that setting. A tomato wears a stocking cap. Oranges stuff a stocking.

“For our children, farm life is their chief experience – farm life and our childcare centers,” Mainster said. “We introduce art as soon as they’re old enough to finger-paint. These cards are one result.”

To order, visit www.rcma.org/holidaycards, complete an order form and fax it to RCMA at (239) 658-3593, or mailed it to Judy Brill at RCMA, 402 W. Main St., Immokalee, FL 34142.

Another option is to call Judy Brill at RCMA at 800-282-6540 or email judy@rcma.org.

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