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Contest spices up holiday for needy with donations of canned food

The staples, certainly – canned vegetables and meat, beans and fruit.

But in addition, holiday fare often gets included in baskets and grocery bags for the needy at Christmas – such as pumpkin, blueberry or cherry pie fillings, jams and jellies, said Ana Barrios, director of Catholic Charities’ Juan Diego Center in Omaha.

"We try to make available extra food items that will make a happy holiday for people," she said.

And the Catholic Voice’s Colors of Christmas art contest feeds right into the spirit of that effort, matching entries received with cans of food donated to food pantries, Barrios said.

Last year’s contest drew a record 2,512 entries, and Woodhouse Auto Family matched those entries with 104 cases of food divided among the Juan Diego Center, the St. Vincent de Paul Society and homeless shelters Siena/Francis House and the Stephen Center, all in Omaha.

Cans of food will be donated again this year, thanks to Woodhouse, but this time to food pantries in rural areas of the archdiocese – St. Joseph Parish in Walthill, St. Vincent de Paul’s Simon House in Columbus and Northeast Community Action Center in Norfolk.

Food donations to the needy have been part of the art contest the last two years. But now in its sixth year, the contest offers students even more.

Colors of Christmas encourages students in kindergarten through sixth grade to focus their talents and share their faith by depicting a Nativity scene in the Gospels – this year, as described in the second chapter of Matthew, the three Wise Men following the star and bearing gifts to the baby Jesus.

Three winners in each category – kindergarten through first grade, second through third and fourth through sixth – each year have their work published in the Christmas edition (Dec. 16 this year) of the Catholic Voice. The overall winner’s artwork will be on the front page.

And finally, with the help of four participating sponsors – Divine Truth Christian Store in La Vista and Parables, Gloria Deo and the Cosgrave Company in Omaha – first-place winners in each category once again will be awarded $75 in sponsor gift cards. Second place gets $50 in gift cards and third place $25. The overall winner will receive an additional $50 in gift cards.

Catholic Mutual Group also supports the contest as an underwriter.

Students in the Archdiocese of Omaha can enter if they are attending a Catholic school, parish religious education program or schooled at home. As for materials, students can use markers, crayons, glitter, pastels, oil or water color paints – whatever they want.

Entry forms are available on the newspaper’s website, click here. Artwork will be accepted through Dec. 2.


Based on Christmas story in Matthew 2:9-11

Categories: K-first; second-third; fourth-sixth

Sheets of paper 9 X 12 or 8½ X 11 can be used

Entry forms are available on the Catholic Voice website –

Artwork with the entry form attached (please do not fold) can be submitted to the Catholic Voice at P.O. Box 4010, Omaha NE 68104-0010 – or delivered to the newspapers office at 6060 Northwest Radial Highway in Omaha

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