With too many negative stories in the news, resident Aimee Stern finds it refreshing that so many members of the community helped out with the Mom’s Club of Wellington’s recent toy and food drives.
“We collected, wrapped and labeled more than 1,000 gifts for needy children in the area,” Stern said. “I grew up with parents who lived through the Great Depression, so my values are probably very different, having parents growing up during a time when people didn’t have much and helped each other out.”
Moving to South Florida in 2004 and to Wellington nine years ago, Stern felt there was a disconnect with people and wanted to create a medium to bring like-minded people together to help the community. “So, I started the Mom’s Club of Wellington in 2017,” she said.
Stern said the club is a place for moms and their families to connect to support the area community and local businesses to help for the greater good. “As far as the philanthropic part, we helped out this year with two food drives and the toy drive,” she said.
The group collected food for Thanksgiving and the holidays. “We wanted those in need to have a nice meal,” she explained. “People pull together when there are tragedies, but we wanted to get people together to celebrate things that are good.”
While Santa has lists of “naughty” and “nice” kids, Stern keeps two updated lists of those who need help and those who could sponsor a family and provide help.
“We had about 50 people at a wrapping party Friday, Dec. 20 who sorted and wrapped and labeled the gifts for little ones. Parents didn’t have to spend any money on wrapping paper and bows for the gifts that would be coming from Santa. We wanted to keep the magic of the holiday alive,” Stern said. “There were more than 1,000 gifts to distribute. It took two days just to disperse them. I put out the call for the effort in August and started collecting gifts and donations in October. There was definitely a method to the madness.”
She added that they used monetary donations to buy gift cards for food and specialized gifts, such as weighted blankets that had to be purchased.
“Children with autism or medical issues and special needs use weighted blankets to provide a comfort level,” Stern explained.
With her own company — Brag & Swag Bagz, reusable tote bags that is a throw-back to the old Welcome Wagon, distributing 800 bags per month to residents who have requested them — Stern has a sizeable network of businesses and a large community network.
Stern said that she and her group could not have had such a successful effort without the outpouring of support from the community, including Hotworx Gym and Kloset Kouture in Wellington, which made significant donations.
“People sharing the holiday spirit is the greatest gift I could have asked for. This is truly refreshing,” Stern said. “Seeing so many people pulled together for the greater good to try to bring back the really good feeling of the holiday spirit was very encouraging.”
For more information about the Mom’s Club of Wellington, find the group on Facebook.