With all the noise leading up to Mother’s Day, it was interesting to learn (to me, at least) that it’s not really a Hallmark holiday. At least, that’s not how it started.

White carnations

A certain Anna Jarvis, who hailed from Webster, W. Va., created the holiday as we know it in memory of her mother, though there are several historical precedents to honoring one’s mother.

She was initially laughed at, ridiculed and generally mocked, but she persevered and the day became a reality in 1914.

Old Anna was not happy with how her homage to her mother turned out. (She wanted people to give their mothers white carnations to wear.)

Image: Clyde Robinson, Creative Commons

She ended up a strong opponent of the holiday, and both she and her sister spent their family inheritance campaigning against what the holiday had become… dying in poverty.

Ulp.

One way you can do something different for your mom today

… is by supporting the To Mama, With Love campaign, by creating a “heartspace” for your mom.

This “collaborative online art project”, powered by Epic Change, honors moms across the globe and raises funds to invest in one remarkable Mama who dreams of building a home for children in her village.  Funds raised will be invested in support of Mama Lucy Kamptoni (@MamaLucy), a once-poultry farmer in Tanzania, who sold her chickens and used the income to build a primary school that now provides a high-quality education to over 400 children in Arusha.

Mama Lucy’s next goal, which To Mama With Love seeks to fund, is to build a boarding facility on campus so that every child who attends her school has a place to call home.

The folks at Epic Change told me this costs an estimated U.S. $50,000; as of yesterday, there were over 200 moms honored and over $11K raised.

What you can do

There are a ton of corporate supporters of the campaign, and I’m sure they, Mama Lucy and Epic Change would be delighted if you’d support them as well (and that will go a long way in helping them reach their goal).

But if you don’t want to do that, will you at least create a heartspace for your mom? What a great gift.

This is my heartspace for my mom. I created it not just because I think this is an incredibly cool thing to do/campaign, but because my mother has been/is an educator, and has, for years, been “mom” to more kids than I’ll ever be able to count – through her teaching career, volunteer work and through her simply oh-so-big-heart that knows no bounds. I think she and Mama Lucy would get on famously.

What I’m going to do next is share this on Facebook in the hope that my friends will donate in her honor and/or create their own heartspaces. I have an amazing circle of friends, who’ve often helped me out. But even if they can’t donate (I know times are tough), I hope they’ll honor their mothers in whatever way they can; every day, but especially today.

Thank you Mom, and thank you, Mama Lucy and Epic Change. I believe Anna Jarvis would have been proud.

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke