DENHAM SPRINGS — A trio of Mighty Moms beamed Saturday afternoon as more than 100 children from Eastover Estates scurried around them with smiles and yells of glee.
In February, the three mothers began visiting the large mobile home park to see if they could help some of the children who live there.
On their weekly walks around the park’s numerous streets, they began giving bags of useful items to the children. When summer came, the mothers also started providing lunches for children every Wednesday, said Dawn Birdsong, one of the founders of Mighty Moms.
The group’s membership has grown to a dozen moms and a couple of grandpas, she said.
On Saturday they enlisted the help of about 20 other people as they put on a final party for the neighborhood’s children.
This time the organization provided not only food, but a couple of space walks and a dunking booth loaned to them by the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Children of some of the Mighty Moms took plunge after plunge as the children of Eastover threw softballs at the dunking booth target. Some of the smaller children couldn’t hit the target, but managed to reach up and push it with their hands.
Josiah Clark, 9, who goes to Juban Park Elementary School, said he didn’t mind, because the water wasn’t too cold.
Beth Clark, one of the original Mighty Moms, said her son and other boys vied for the chance to get dunked.
The mother of six children, she said one of the great things about the weekly visits to Eastover has been the impact it has had on her own children, five of whom have gone with her.
“The impact on our children has been great,” she said. “It’s changed the way they look at the world.”
Birdsong said her three children enjoy helping and her 18-year-old son brings along some of his friends.
“It’s something I wanted to show my own kids, because I wanted them to appreciate what they have,” said Donise Shipley, the third of the original Mighty Mom trio.
Noelle Shipley, 12, said she has enjoyed seeing the smiles on the faces of children when she has given them clothes and toys she has outgrown.
She said she thinks the children feel loved by the group that goes to see them on Wednesdays. She said she particularly enjoys talking to a couple of little girls, ages 4 and 6.
Joe Shumate, chief deputy of the Denham Springs Marshal’s Office, praised the Mighty Moms for what they are doing, adding that the trailer park has a number of children who need help.
Shumate has started to accompany the moms to the trailer park “to make sure everything goes smoothly, as it always has.”
Birdsong said the organization and its work in Eastover grew out of a prayer group.
She said the organization, which includes people from various churches, hopes to expand to other areas.
However, the next thing on their agenda is to deliver new shoes and donated school uniforms to 43 of the Eastover children.
“We want to show them some love” as summer vacation ends, she said.
Clark said the summer’s experience has been something that a person has to see to understand.
“I almost feel selfish because I get so much joy out of it,” she said.