By Joel Hall
A local gospel radio station showed its appreciation to more than 75 women Friday during an early Mother's Day celebration at the Frank Bailey Senior Center in Riverdale. WIGO AM 1570 "The Light" treated local mothers to teddy bears, roses, jewelry, free lunch, gospel music, and other gifts.
The celebration was part of a live broadcast of "Something You Should Know," a daily radio show hosted by WIGO radio personality Kameron Stevenson.
Stevenson, who was raised by his grandmother, said he believes it is especially important to honor senior mothers on Mother's Day.
"I'm a grandmama's baby," Stevenson said. "A lot of those seniors produce productive citizens, but they don't get the recognition. We came in with the objective to put a smile on their face and give them some of the TLC [tender loving care] they might not get at home.
"Each and every mother who received a rose, a teddy bear, jewelry, or a free lunch, they said that it made their day," he added.
During the event, the first 25 mothers who signed up were treated to a special VIP table, with gift baskets including flowers, jewelry from Zales and free makeup from Mary Kay. Other mothers at the senior center received smaller gifts and free massages from Body Bliss Spa in Riverdale.
In addition to gifts, visitors to the program were treated to gospel music performed by well-known local artists, including Liz Yancey, Iris Parks, and the gospel quartet Amayz. The radio station also gave away two free tickets to the Mother's Day Weekend Gospel Show, featuring Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin and James Fortune, at The Atlanta Civic Center.
Mindy French, manager of the Frank Bailey Senior Center, said many of the mothers who come to the facility are separated from their children by distance or other reasons. She said Friday's program was particularly meaningful to the mothers who were honored.
"Some of these mothers may not live close to their children right now, so they might not be recognized, but this is for all of them," French said. "The gifts are wonderful, but the most important thing is that somebody showed they cared ... that they were honored for being a mother."
Marvena Grant, 62, of Riverdale, is the mother of three adult children. She said the program gave her "a real sense of knowing that people care."
"For mothers whose children are not here, it gives them some security," Grant said. "Everyone received something, regardless of how small or big."
Christine Hines, 67, a retired school teacher from Long Island, N.Y., moved to Riverdale 12 years ago, leaving four children in New York. She said she hoped the program would help keep mothers motivated.
"This was one of the best programs I have been involved in," Hines said. "I hope that the mothers will be able to stay happy and well and keep on spreading their love, because that's what being a mother is all about."