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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cards for Christmas: By Kids for Kids

In a city where thousands of Westerners scramble each December to find Christmas cards, the American Women's Organization has a near-monopoly on locally made holiday cards. But it's all for a good cause.

Proceeds from sale of the cards go to Moscow's Orphanage No. 50, which earlier this year received a stereo system and several hundred books from last season's card sales.

"We have a captive audience. It's great," said Laura Dufrat, a member of the organization working on the project.

"This year we are hoping to have the money go for some kind of capital improvements -- maybe a remont of the bathrooms."

When some 3,000 cards went on sale last December, they sold out in a day and a half. So, this year Dufrat said the American Women's Organization plans to have about 5,000 cards printed.

This season's cards will be pencil drawings of holiday themes by children at the orphanage.

"Last year we asked them to draw a Christmas or New Year's theme," said Natasha Sheedy, a member of the group who helped select the drawings for the cards. "A lot of them drew Teenage Ninja Turtles or Mickey Mouse, and then it would just say 'Happy New Year' over it, but we didn't choose those drawings."

This year's designs are to be chosen this week, when the orphans resume classes after an autumn holiday, said Sheedy, who described what she would prefer in this season's cards. "I will look for something very simple and naive that represents a child who has not yet been exposed to modern culture."

Dufrat explained that the idea for the card project arose accidentally. "We were looking for an activity with the kids. We thought drawing would be fun, because our group has some members who don't speak Russian. Then, too, in Moscow it is very difficult to buy Christmas cards before the middle of December."

Persons interested in purchasing sets of cards or helping with sales and distribution should call Laura Dufrat at 956-4281, extension 5066, between 4 P.M. and 6 P.M.