Mother’s Day is an annual spring event when mothers and mother figures are honored with gifts, cards, flowers or a special meal while out “on the town.” But for many mothers living on Skid Row or in veteran’s associations, Mother’s Day is another reminder of how challenging these times are. Many won’t be honored or remembered.

The Witness Book Club, a faith-based nonprofit organization that empowers women through literacy and fellowship, will brighten about 500 women’s lives when members will distribute “Bags of Love” to low-income and unemployed women on Saturday, May 10.

“Our mission is to equip women with tools to live victoriously and embrace the ‘I Am My Sister’s Keeper’ concept,” said Jacques McNeil, founder and president of the organization which began in 1995.

“Through our annual programs—whether it’s the Mother’s Day Bags of Love giveaway, adopting a woman’s transition home or feeding homeless on Skid Row—we have seen many women encouraged, uplifted and reminded just how special they are,” she added.

For nearly seven years, McNeil has seen this transformation in women’s eyes the moment they receive the bags filled with beauty and personal hygiene products. “The bags of love not only boost women’s confidence, it reminds them that they are not forgotten,” she said.

The concept for the Mother’s Day outreach began in January 2007. One Saturday morning McNeil decided that she wanted to prepare sack lunches for men and women on Skid Row and deliver them with her husband and five-year-old daughter. So the family created about 20 meals to hand out.

“One woman asked if I had any sanitary napkins and I did not. She stated that women typically receive diapers during that time of the month. That’s when I realized the need for gift bags with feminine products for women on Skid Row,” said McNeil. For Mother’s Day that year we were able to deliver 35 gift bags.

McNeil said that people who would like to celebrate these forgotten women can help assemble and distribute bags.

Bag assembly will be held tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the A-MAN Center located at 101 S. La Brea Ave., Inglewood. Contact Anise Fuller, Outreach Coordinator at (424) 241-3470 or for details.

Bag distribution will be held on Saturday in various locations in Los Angeles including Skid Row, the Los Angeles VA Hospital, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., and Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price, Jr.’s office located at 4301 S. Central Avenue from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at the West Angeles Performing Arts Theater parking lot at 3020 Crenshaw Blvd., and will carpool to the locations.

“This year we will exceed the amount of bags we’ve given out in the past and it couldn’t be possible without sponsors like Councilman Curren Price Jr. and Victory Baptist Church, (4802 McKinley Ave.) located in one of Los Angeles’ hardest hit communities by the economic downturn,” said McNeil.

For more information on the Witness Book Club visit the website at or its Facebook page/witnessbookclub.