Source: Chicago Tribune
The Saturday before Mother's Day, for three years running, Tamar Manasseh has thrown a party. It's on the corner of 75th Street and Stewart Avenue in Englewood. There's a band. There's a DJ. There's a photo booth. There's a whole lot of food.
Manasseh is the founder of Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings, a 3-year-old group that sits watch and builds community in one of Chicago's most violence-plagued neighborhoods — the neighborhood where Manasseh grew up. Volunteers gather in lawn chairs, talk, listen to music and serve as a block club of sorts. They're out daily in the summer, and they take the fall, winter and spring months off. The Mother's Day party is a bit of a "We're back," as well as a chance to honor moms on a holiday that, for many, is tinged by grief and loss.
This year, in addition to music and photos and food and friendship, there will be flowers.
Flowers for Dreams, a West Loop-based florist that donates 25 percent of its profits to a different charity each month, selected M.A.S.K. as its May charity.
"It made sense to really put them on a pedestal in May," Flowers for Dreams co-founder and CEO Steven Dyme told me.
But here's the really beautiful part. Also for May, Dyme's shop offered customers a chance to buy a $15 bouquet to donate to a mom who has lost a child to gun violence, which Flowers for Dreams staffers will hand-deliver to Saturday's party.
"It's a chance to send a bouquet to a mother who may not have someone to send her flowers," Dyme said. "I don't want to overstate our impact. I'm sure it's very little. But I think what flowers do really well is let you know someone cares. Some of the moms may not be getting a lot of those signs on a regular basis, so I think it's kind of cool that we can let them know someone in the community cares."
The bouquets, 80 of them, sold out in four hours.
This is a story about the Community Safety and Peace strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.