Local ministry provides 2,200 lunches for single, widowed, military mothers on Mother's Day

Posted at 11:13 AM, May 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-10 19:53:25-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- While families celebrated their mothers on this Mother’s Day, it may not have been an entirely “happy” Mother's Day for everyone – especially moms who are single, widowed or have significant others deployed in the military.

Joy Ministries in Virginia Beach, however, did try to put a smile on those moms' faces with its annual Mother’s Day Celebration. Barbara Faircloth and her husband, John, were just some of the volunteers who helped out sharing the support and love.

"It's just a privilege to be a part of making it special for someone else," Barbara said.

She is a mother herself and said she's volunteered with the Mother's Day Celebration since it started 20 years ago.

"It's a good feeling," Barbara said. "My children have gotten used to that, that momma is not around for certain hours during Mother's Day, so we work around that."

The 20th year was different to how the celebration was carried out years prior. Danette Crawford, the ministry's founder, told News 3 they had to adjust because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have different distribution locations, Crawford said. "Yesterday we went door-to-door. Today are the mobile meals coming, lining up, driving through."

The ministry normally brought those mothers to a lavish hotel where they are treated to an extravagant lunch. Crawford said the hotel contacted her and said it could not accommodate them this year. She and her team planned out the celebration where on Saturday they delivered meals to mothers. Then on Mother's Day, Sunday, they set up a drive-through where mothers could pick up their lunches.

"During this coronavirus and all that's been happening it takes all of us to partner together more than ever before," Crawford said.

She said the lunches were prepared by Portsmouth-based charity group Mercy Chefs. They prepared 1,700 meals to be distributed across Hampton Roads. The ministry also has a location in Chicago where 500 meals were distributed for a total of 2,200 meals.

The mothers also got something extra.

"They're going to get a Mother's Day gift and a special gift, you'll never guess what," Crawford said, as she reached into one of the goodie bags and pulled out a roll of toilet paper. "It's what we all need during the coronavirus, if there's a need we've got it."

The care and love continued even after mother's day. That is because the ministry also provides support services to help these mothers have a comfortable life, June DeLauney, another volunteer, said.

"Over those 20 years, I've seen so many of these single moms grow into beautiful working women that have great jobs," DeLauney said. "Their children are graduating college so it's a blessing to help today."