|12/16/2011 10:33:00 AM|
A day for celebrating and embracing reality of hard times
As Advent began, Catholic Charities unveiled the winner of its 2011 Christmas Card Contest at an annual donor appreciation luncheon at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland.
The winner of the contest, Angela Nguyen, is a fifth grader at Archbishop Howard School in Northeast Portland.
“The contest is really special for our students,” said Stephanie Groven, Angela’s teacher. “They are asked to depict a religious Christmas scene, and it’s a really good reminder for them that Christ is the reason we celebrate Christmas.”
Angela’s design graces the cover of the thousands of cards sent out by the Archdiocese of Portland’s social service organization. She was one of 1,525 entrants.
Elizabeth Bowman, a fifth grader at St. Luke School in Woodburn, was awarded second place in the card contest for an image of The Virgin Mary riding a mule under the Advent sky. Third place went to Lance Paglinawan, a fourth grader at St. Francis School in Sherwood, for his depiction of the Nativity that included colorful wise men kneeling before the baby Jesus.
Pietro Ferrari, executive director of Catholic Charities, thanked supporters at the luncheon for assisting the agency in serving 25,000 individuals last year “many of whom are experiencing economic hardship for the first time in their lives in this extraordinary time of economic stress.”
Ferrari said Catholic Charities' Housing Transitions Program has been one of many services experiencing increased demand. The program served 764 women this past year, up from 691 the year before.
Margi Dechenne, manager of Housing Transitions reflected on the five-year anniversary of the program announcing almost 1,800 women have visited for drop-in services; 338 women have been placed in permanent housing.
“Two hundred and six women — 61 percent of the women we housed — were done so through private funds from the Catholic Charities family of donors, and local companies and foundations,” said Dechenne.