Laughter and tears punctuated moving moments during the Mother’s Day Tea held at Resurrection Parish in Lakeland on May 9. Fifty-five women from several of Catholic Charities of Central Florida’s 13 mobile senior sites were honored on their special day in the parish hall with activities, cards, and .

The women enjoyed taking fun pictures at a photo booth, playing “Getting to Know You Bingo” and even took home a little gift. Students from two second grade classes at Resurrection Catholic School prepared handmade cards for the “senior moms” and worked with their music teacher to sing songs and “provide lively entertainment,” said Bethany McBride, coordinator of the event. Barbara Cage, LACS program director said, “It was a beautiful intergenerational interaction and you could just feel the emotion in the room and see it reflected in more than a few moist eyes!”

“The idea came last year, when we wanted to find a way to celebrate our moms,” explained McBride. “So many of them live alone, or don’t have any family nearby. They don’t socialize often, and sometimes just feel so down. We wanted to plan an event to honor and uplift them to let them know that they are important, they are loved, and they are valued.” She added, “We wanted to help enlighten their identity as a mother which is a beautiful vocation. We wanted to remind them that they have offered, and still can offer their families and their community so much.”

The effort was a collaboration of the Senior Organizations Uniting Locally or SOUL Program made up of more than 50 agencies. SOUL is spearheaded by Catholic Charities and Cage says it is a direct result of why the event was so successful – making it five times larger than last year. Dedicated Senior Medical Center sponsored lunch, and Humana sponsored the photo booth and gift bags. Elderpoint Ministries (local nonprofit supporting seniors) sponsored the transportation for the ladies who do not drive.

McBride noted, ‘We organized this event to celebrate our clients, who are mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers. They deserve to be appreciated today and every day. Their feminine beauty has brought life into the world, and they sustain it with their love and care. As older adults, they may feel forgotten, ignored, or lonely. My hope was to ignite a spark within them to remind them they are still loved, and are important – no matter their age or state in life.”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic – May 13, 2019