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Charitable group helps kids staying in local shelter give mom a special Mother’s Day

Posted at 4:11 PM, May 10, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY -- For women living in the domestic violence shelter at the YWCA and their children, Mother's Day is a reminder of their tough circumstances.

But this Mother's Day will be a lot better than most, thanks to a group called Women's Edge.

"Mother's Day is definitely a hard time for them, the kids have a hard time, they're in shelter,” said Amberlie Phillips, who is the chief development officer of YWCA Utah.

On any given night, there are more than 150 women and children in the Family Violence Program on the Salt Lake campus, and about 60 percent of them are children.

A women's resource organization called Women's Edge, launched by Smith’s Food and Drug, gives female employees the opportunity to reach out to other women.

Because they were impressed by the work of YWCA Utah, the group's first activity was to take the children of women at the shelter on a shopping trip for Mother's Day gifts.

"We know these kids have gone through some tough times and so have their moms, and they're living there on a temporary basis and hopefully they'll be on their own again, but we think it's important that they enjoy each holiday, and Mother's Day is such a special day for them to show their moms that they're special no matter where they're living,” said Marsha Gilford, the vice president of public affairs for Smith's Food and Drug.

So, each child or set of siblings was given $50 to spend on their mom, and volunteers helped the kids select the perfect gift, including items like jewelry or new shoes.

Not only did the kids pick out gifts for Mother's Day, but they also got away from the shelter for a while.

"A fun day, a fun afternoon out, with treats and being able to make a wish list for mom and then being able to go to a store and pick out anything, within reason, that they'd like to get for mom is a real treat and we're just so grateful,” Phillips said.

The kids enjoyed a nice lunch, and Smith's gave them a flower to give their moms as well as a cookie with their name on it. They also made special bags and gift cards, so they would have all they needed for a happy Mother's Day despite perhaps being in a not-so-happy stage of their lives.

There was also a special Mother's Day brunch for the women and their children.

YWCA Utah has a 181-bed facility to provide shelter facilities for women and children fleeing unsafe situations. For more information about the YWCA in Utah and the ways you can help, visit their website.