Mother's Day is still a holiday on Skid Row. Fred Jordan Mission is hosting its 72nd annual Mother's Day celebration on Saturday.
The event will feature a banquet-style luncheon of barbecued chicken with all the trimmings. Every mother who attends will receive flowers, a bag with fresh produce, toiletries and socks. All the children will receive gift bags filled with toys and candy.
"It's a real celebration to honor the mothers who struggle because they're homeless," Willie Jordan, the president of the Fred Jordan Mission, tells KPCC. "The main thing I want to give them is hope. I want them to know that they are special and we recognize their struggles."
In the first years she began working with homeless people, Jordan says she only saw men on the street. She remembers the first woman who walked into the Mission, in the late '60s.
"She was holding her eye and when I touched her hand, she took it away," Jordan says. "And on her right cheekbone was her eyeball. She was a prostitute and instead of paying her $2, a man hit her in the side of her head with a two-by-four. And she came to us for help. And I couldn't believe that in America we would see homeless women on the street. She opened a door and the floodgates brought mothers and mothers with children."
"They've been abandoned by the men who fathered their children.... a woman has the children and she can't run away."
Jordan says she expects about a thousand women and children at the celebration.