Isaiah House of the Orange County Catholic Worker is located in Santa Ana, CA and offers shelter to the homeless, food and love to those in need and has been serving poor people with dignity since 1987.
Our "Ornament Team" - Erin Houghton, Libby Williamson and her lovely Mom, Mimi who is visiting from Connecticut.
W.H.O.A. volunteered to teach art related classes at Isaiah House and when we found out they needed Christmas ornaments we signed up to provide a class. We purchased sturdy wooden ornaments that would not break and decided to paint and glitter the front and back of the ornaments to save time by not having to wait for them to dry before the embellishments were applied
Embellishments for the ornaments set out and all ready to go!!!
** Note - all photos of the ladies were taken with their permission. Everyone just getting started by picking out their ornaments. Libby and Mimi are at the decorations table - each person was given a paper plate with glue, paint brush, tooth pick (for tiny ornaments) and the decorations they choose. This worked very well and we were able to keep the process organized and moving quickly.
The ladies loved picking out their embellishments and personalizing their own ornaments and tags.
We gave out a flyer inviting the members of Isaiah House to the W.H.O.A. ornament and tag decorating class a week before the class, and asked everyone to be thinking about a word or words to write on their tag that represented the joy of spending Christmas at Isaiah House. The words written on their tags were heartwarming - Love, Peace, Joy, Blessings. One lady pulled me aside to tell me that she thought about the word she wanted to write all week and she proudly showed me her tag with the words " Magic House". She was certainly right about that for we found our experience to be truly magical and filled with so much love.
We had a separate table for the tags with stickers, stamps, colored markers, scissors, cuts outs, ribbons and bells. Libby suggested glittered pipe cleaners for hanging the tags and they were huge hit with the ladies.
Isaiah House rescues animals and keeps them safe until the Shelter comes to pick them up. Sometimes the animals end up staying as permanent residents as this beautiful green bird did! They also give out dog food to the Homeless with dogs .
Another happy resident Cat!
We found Isaiah House to be a "magical place" with the love and care shown to the homeless living there as well as homeless animals.
This little dog is blind in one eye and belongs to one of the ladies that lives at Isaiah House.
We took several ornaments shaped liked dog bones and tags with photos of cats and dogs for the ladies to decorate for the animals that live at Isaiah House and they were so excited that we remembered the animals.
One of the rescued cats eyeing the decorated Christmas tags.One of the tags has "Magic House" written on the back!!
One of the ladies consulting with Libby Williamson on her decoration. Libby is a fabulous artist and teaches classes at The Dragon Fly in Old Towne Orange -you can see more of her work and learn about her classes at: www.dragonflyshopsandgardens.com
Some of the residents admiring the beautiful ornaments and tags they created.
This dog is a permanent resident and part of the family of the four Catholic Workers who lovingly operate Isaiah House.
Jenelle VandeMortel in black jacket hanging lights on the tree with one of the ladies. Jenelle is the founder of W.H.O.A. and can be reached at www.whoadesigns.com for information and membership.
Libby hanging an Angel on top of the tree - and yes somehow she reached the top.
In the Spirit of Christmas we left "The Magic House" with our hearts filled with love and admiration for the homeless ladies who live there and the four Catholic Workers and countless volunteers who offer shelter, food, and love to those in need as well as rescue animals in need. Our Christmas ornament and tag class represents what W.H.O.A. is all about - Women Helping One Another and then reaching out to Help Other Women in Need. As Jenelle says so often - "we are so powerful working together."
Merry Christmas, Erin