Christmas cards benefit rural, low-income children

It’s beginning to look a lot like … the 2016 RCMA Christmas Cards

Back to school, football, maybe even some color in the leaves … it’s fall. What better time to think about holiday cards?

The children who benefit from programs provided by the Redlands Christian Migrant Association have designed a fresh batch of colorful cards for this year’s Christmas card fundraiser, and it’s time to order.

RCMA provides quality care and education for children of migrant farmworkers and rural, low-income families throughout Florida. It was founded in 1965 by a group of Mennonites in the Redlands area of Miami-Dade County to provide a safe haven for children of farmworkers while their parents worked.

In 2015, the RCMA Christmas Card program printed more than 11,000 cards and generated nearly $28,000 in revenue, which was used to buy educational materials, supplies and services.

“Not only do we raise money for RCMA by printing of the cards, we also have Print Angels who donate $500 each to offset the cost of printing and shipping for the program,” said Sonia Tighe, director of the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, which oversees the fundraiser. “RCMA is able to receive 16-to-1 matching funds on the net proceeds from the program, so it’s a great fundraising opportunity to support RCMA which is so vital to our growers and their workers,” she said.

A. Duda & Sons, Inc. and FFVA helped to create and build the fundraiser in the late 1990s to raise money and awareness about RCMA’s services. “Ironically, it didn’t originate at RCMA,” said Bill Coates, RCMA’s director of communications. “It was the brainchild of Donna Duda in 1999. RCMA loved the idea, and the FFVA jumped in too. Donna is a key player today. She takes stacks of raw children’s drawings and sees the marketability behind the crayon strokes. She envisions how a shaded background or some image re-sizing can add the artful touch that a Christmas card needs.”

Businesses and individuals may order cards with exclusive or general designs. Several of the exclusive, one-of-a-kind designs are already reserved, but many clever and attractive ones remain, including some that feature specific Florida fruits and vegetables.

Kathleen Roehm, who manages community relations for RCMA, says it has received quite a few early orders this year since the Christmas card brochure was produced much earlier than usual.  And she says many of the people who order the cards are as special as the cards themselves. “A longtime card purchaser decided to donate her teddy bear collection right after she received this year’s card brochure in the mail,” Roehm said. “She said she over-ordered cards last year, but the brochure prompted her to think, ‘I should give these bears to RCMA,’ and she donated over 100!”

Call 800-282-6540 for a copy of the brochure and to order exclusive or general designs, including variety packs. Some general designs are available online here. The deadline to order is Dec. 15.

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