by Vanessa Russell
There's no question the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti quickly reminded those of us watching from a far; how fortunate we really are; and that no matter the geographic location - all of us cry, hurt and LOVE our families the same. And at the end of the day - 'we are one"! This is truly the way Mocha Moms in the Mid-Atlantic region felt when they gathered for their annual leadership summit in Maryland last month. Moms came with car loads of diapers, sippy cups, toiletry etc...to send to Haiti. Moms are hopeful that the LOVE they feel for mothers and their children there; will be felt during the unraveling of each and every box. President of Fredericksburg's chapter of Mocha Moms, Raquel Pouncy, brought packages from local moms to the summit.
"Once the request came in, our chapter members responded in a big way. We all felt the need to personally do something to help. As we watched the news, our hearts ached for everyone that was effected, especially the children; said Pouncy.". "Our moms donated everything from diapers to soap to tooth brushes to sanitary products - items we use everyday. I am proud to be a part of an organization of Mocha Moms' caliber that cares so much for others."
"The Haiti earthquake was a tragedy that touched all of us in the organization. Some of us more closely than others, We have several moms in the MidAtlantic region who are Haitian and have family members who have lost everything, said Tawanna Browne Smith who helped coordinate the effort." Smith serves as both Military Network Director & the Maryland/DC State Coordinator of Mocha Moms. "Once we established a contact at FEMA, the request went out to our moms for donations of items that would specifically assist displaced moms and children. The response was overwhelming. Our moms from Delaware, Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, answered the call with open hearts delivering hundreds of toothbrushes, cases of toothpaste, wipes, pampers, hygiene products, pacifiers, sippy cups, and other mom/child-related products. I have yet to perform a final tally but it was enough items to open a small store and has taken 4 trips to deliver. Handing over each box was a symbol of our love for and connection to moms and children everywhere in need of support," said Smith.
Mocha Moms paused for a moment of silence and reflection that was led in song by Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, LaShaun Phillips-Martin. And each leader rushed to embrace Richmond's newest President, Mavreen Masere, who just 3 days before the quake had been visiting with relatives in Haiti. "Thank you so much for the warm welcome, for taking the time to think about the people of Haiti and for collecting the donations. I really appreciate it, said Masere. "I'm looking forward to a great year with the Mocha Moms."