Laverne Delgado is celebrating this Mother’s Day by gifting care containers to single mothers in Los Angeles

Laverne Delgado is crisscrossing Los Angeles this Mother’s Day weekend with bags full of personal care products for single moms in need.

She’s traveled from Pasadena to Skid Row, visiting transitional homes for mothers who have experienced homelessness, domestic abuse, and even sex trafficking. Alexandria House, a women’s and children’s shelter in Koreatown, was one of her many stops.

Delgado, 32, walked in wearing a striped jumpsuit and carrying a large number of white bags filled with gifts for the residents. She stood in the foyer, surrounded by bags carefully packed by volunteers from her nonprofit agency, Freedom and Fashion, and she looked like a fairy goddaughter.

Face masks, shampoo, body wash, and other necessities are among the items included in the packs. But, since it’s Mother’s Day, they still have jewelry, lipstick, and gift cards from brands including Chanel, Morphe, and Profit Cosmetics.

Delgado intends to distribute 700 bags to women who are in desperate need of a boost, particularly after such a trying year.

One of the recipients, Mimi Bangu, said she fell into a deep depression and became homeless after losing her work. She and her three children, two teenage boys, and a 10-year-old girl, found refuge in Alexandria House.

The single mother has since moved into her own apartment, but she was welcomed back to Alexandria House for Mother’s Day celebrations.

Bangu was handed a bag by Delgado, which she had been eyeing in the corner underneath a banister.

Bangu told CNN, “I love gold, everything is (colored) gold,” as she pulled golden perfume, lotions, and a cloth headband from her purse.

“It feels incredible,” she said. “This isn’t something we (single moms) see very often. And you know how much I like gold, so getting this on Mother’s Day made my day.”

After losing her restaurant job and then her home, Mekides Mengesha ended up in Alexandria House, she said.

“I was homeless when I came here,” said the Ethiopian immigrant. “I said, ‘This is my family,’ when I first walked into this home.”

Mengesha was ecstatic to get her purse, which included a multi-colored fanny pack that she said would be useful for her jogs.

Mengesha was ecstatic to get her purse, which included a multi-colored fanny pack that she said would be useful for her jogs.

Alexandria House has provided shelter to more than 300 women and their children since its inception in 1996. Kim Kardashian West is one of the celebrities who has visited and helped the shelter. On the grounds, Justin Bieber filmed his music video for “Intentions.”

Delgado founded Freedom and Fashion to support women like Bangu and Mengesha. According to its website, the group aims to empower girls and women through fashion and beauty to help them resolve their encounters with domestic abuse, human trafficking, and other injustices.

Bangu and Mengesha both denied being raped. Delgado, on the other hand, claims to be a victim of domestic abuse and sexual harassment.

“I know what it’s like to be in a very dark spot,” she said, adding that the corona virus outbreak has only exacerbated the situation for many women.

Domestic abuse cases increased dramatically across the world during the lockdown, according to UN Women, as many victims were forced to remain indoors with their abusers. It was also dubbed a “shadow pandemic” by the United Nations.

Delgado understands that her Mother’s Day gift bags are just a brief respite from the suffering that many women are experiencing. Seeing their faces “light up” when they open them, she says, makes it all worthwhile.

Bangu was beaming as she clutched her golden cloth headband, only to realize that her daughter was about to steal it from her.

With a wide, resigned mother’s smile, she said, “She’s going to steal it.”

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