Edmonton charity helps kids celebrate single moms on Mother's Day

·2 min read
Lennea Blanchard holds flowers chosen by her son, Graycen, at the Love You Mama charity event for kids of single mothers. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC - image credit)
Lennea Blanchard holds flowers chosen by her son, Graycen, at the Love You Mama charity event for kids of single mothers. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC - image credit)

Mother's Day can be tricky for single moms and their kids, especially when it comes to finding the right gift.

"I need to have the money to give the kids, then find somebody to take the kids to buy the gift and it's a whole process," said Lennea Blanchard, a single mother.

Blanchard knows her five-year-old son, Graycen, worries about making sure she gets a present on holidays and birthdays.

But thanks to Edmonton-based Kaleo Collective, Graycen was proud to be able to give her "a red bath bomb and two makeups" for Mother's Day.

On Saturday, the charity put on its annual Love You Mama event at Londonderrry Mall, helping 500 kids get free presents for their moms — the event's biggest year yet.

Through the event, kids select their own present from a selection of items, such as jewellery, makeup and bath products.

Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC
Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC

They also make a custom bouquet, have pictures taken in a photo booth and enjoy a cinnamon bun with their mom.

Layna Haley, Kaleo Collective founder and executive director, became a single mother herself when she was 16, so she understands the struggles.

It was important to her to create a way for children to recognize and celebrate the sacrifices made by their single mothers, she said.

"This would have been an event that really would have touched my heart as a single mom, which is why it is so fun for me to get to be part of it year after year," Haley said.

Community support is key to the program's success, Haley said. A $50 donation lets a donor "adopt a mom" and cover the cost of the event for one child.

This is the third year Blanchard and her son Graycen have participated. She calls it an "amazing and overwhelming" experience for both of them.

"He did a great job and he's always so proud that he was able to pick something on his own," she said.

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