|Posted by Anne Siren on September 28, 2012 at 2:05 PM|
By Phyllis J. Neuberger
Peek in on a weekly meeting and watch these dedicated volunteers working away at St. Paul of the Apostle Church Social Hall at 2700 E. Sample Road in Lighthouse Point. They are as busy as Santa’s elves producing crafts for their annual Christmas Bazaar. On November 10 and 11, holiday shoppers will find small trees already trimmed, ornaments, nativity sets, crocheted blankets, Thanksgiving place cards, placemats, aprons, pillows and many other items, handmade with love.
Group President, Cathie Desjean and Vice President DeeDee Coulombe were interviewed by The Pelican as they worked. Cathie says, “We use the money we raise to provide scholarships to parishioners who want to send their children to parochial schools.”
She went on to say, “We just finished our dresses for the Haiti project which was a big success and very gratifying to all of us. Parishioners donated new and used pillow cases and our group turned them into little slip dresses for children from infancy to 14 years of age. We bought 147 pair of panties to go with our 147 dresses. They were delivered by Food for the Poor to the community of Titanyen, Cabaret, Haiti. We kept busy on this project for three months, cutting, sewing, ironing etc. It was more than worthwhile when we saw pictures of the smiling little girls in their dresses. It made every one of us very happy.”
Asked how many women are in the group, DeeDee says, “ There are about 75 members, 45 of whom are active. We’re all elderly, but we manage to show up every week for about three hours and we work on events around the calendar. We would love to have some young blood, but it seems most of the young women are working women.” She paused to introduce Emma Francem who is 97. Emma was very busy making individual flower puffs which would later be sewn together to create an exquisite throw.
After the Holiday Bazaar, the women get busy on Aunt Marie’s Attic Sale in February. Cathie says, “ Our entire parish contributes to this rummage sale, but it is our Council of Catholic Women who run it. It’s always a big success proving that one person’s junk is the next person’s treasure.” She laughed. “Some of us end up buying as much as we donated.”
Continuing, “We have an annual fashion show at the Lighthouse Point Yacht Club. We model clothes from different retailers. This year, Stein Mart has generously offered to work with us.”
DeeDee ticks off another event. “At Christmas we work with Operation Christmas Child. This is a wonderful effort. This year we hope to fill 80 shoe boxes with personal necessities and little items. These boxes are shipped around the world to be given to children in need.”
“We’re not through yet,” Cathie says. “There’s still another new yearly event. We love this one because it’s so easy. We Shop for a Cause in partnership with Macy’s. We sell Macy Shopping Passes for one day. The charity gets a 25 percent discount and we get $5 for each pass sold. We all love this event because all we have to do is shop and that’s easy for most women isn’t it?”
At back to school time in the fall, this group contributes back packs filled with supplies. They contribute to other small, but meaningful projects throughout the year to help the less fortunate around them.
“We meet once a month from October to May,” Cathie says. “I’ve been president for four years. Nobody wants the job because it’s so time consuming, but I feel it’s worth it because the rewards are endless.”
DeeDee, who has also served as president, agrees, saying, “I wake up every morning and thank God that I can continue to do this.”
Anyone who is interested in joining the Council of Catholic Women who work nonstop for a variety of worthy causes can call 954-783-5122.
Thank you for all that you do for your community and beyond.