LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - On a Monday morning in 2010, Dawn Birdsong and Beth Clark, two moms in Livingston Parish, gathered in Dawn's kitchen and prayed for their children, friends, teachers, and mentors.
They continued their Monday morning coffee and prayer sessions the next week. And the next. As months passed, those Monday mornings became the highlight of their week. "We find it such a privilege to pray for others," Dawn said. "Strangers sometimes, kids we have never met."
But it wasn't until a third mom asked to sit in on the Monday morning that these prayer sessions took on an entirely new meaning.
"We had a mom come visit us one day and she asked if we would pray for the children in her neighborhood because she knew that they had a need: hunger," said Beth. "It was something that we just really didn't recognize and we didn't understand, so we took a drive around that particular neighborhood and really took a good look. The only meals some kids got were the ones they ate at school, so Dawn and I felt like that was something that we could change. We could make an impact in the community."
And that's how the non-profit group, Mighty Moms, was formed. In coordination with the Livingston Parish School District's Full Tummy initiative, Mighty Moms prepares meals for hungry children they can enjoy after school and on weekends.
With the help of guidance counselors to identify those in need, Dawn and Beth (and now many other volunteers) purchase single-serving, non-perishable food items, assemble them as complete meals, and deliver them to the identified schools each Thursday. The guidance counselors distribute the meals to the children in need at the end of the week.
And how much does this weekly effort cost Mighty Moms?
"The grocery bill is $12,000 a month, and the food comes from individuals and businesses who support us through donations and food drives," Dawn explained.
Businesses, like Sheri's Daiquiris, in Satsuma help Mighty Moms to provide food for those needy kids.
"We were looking for a foundation to support," said Sheri Summers, owner of the business. "We didn't realize how many children were going hungry, even on the weekend, so we decided to have a crawfish cook-off. We had 13 teams and a band, and a lot of people come out and just support the foundation, so we're really happy with the turnout."
Our Hand It On crew was there under the guise of doing a story on Mighty Moms. Little did Dawn and Beth know they were the recipients of our Hand It On donation of $300.
"Hey, Dawn and Beth," Sheri called out to the two across the parking lot.
"Okay, so we originally invited Johnny from WAFB Channel 9 to come be one of the cook-off judges, but instead, we want to donate $300 to the Mighty Moms foundation from the Hand It On project, so here y'all go!" Sheri said as she handed Dawn the money.
"What? That is awesome!" Dawn and Beth were noticeably moved by the gesture.
"Thank you. Thank you so much!"
To nominate an organization or individual for Hand It On, send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com.
Make sure to include your contact information, especially your phone number.