VNA Health celebrated the 20th anniversary of its annual Mother’s Day Luncheon Friday, honoring 40 women and one couple in a video tribute.
This is the second year in a row VNA Health went virtual to celebrate the Mother’s Day Luncheon, an annual event that honors distinguished mothers for their impact on their children’s lives and their community.
With the pandemic barring large in-person events, planning staff at VNA Health opted to recognize past honorees through a broadcasted video Friday.
During a typical year, VNA Health selects one “Honored Mother” and one “Remembered Mother” to recognize at the nonprofit’s yearly in-person luncheon. But because this year was the 20th anniversary of the event, the organization decided to recognize all of the previous honorees from 2002 and on without recognizing new honorees for 2021.
VNA Health posted the video on its website at 11 a.m. Friday for the public to view. It also plans to broadcast the video on KEYT-TV, Channel 3, at 3 p.m. Sunday and on KEYT-Now Channel 13 at 3 p.m. Saturday and May 16.
Throughout the video, family members and friends of the past Honored and Remembered Mothers reminisce on fond memories and moments with the honorees. The program also features various speakers talking about the impact of VNA Health in their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
“(The luncheon) really brings these women to life for many of us that wouldn’t have known them otherwise,” Rick Keith, the executive director of VNA Health, told the News-Press. “And so that’s been the most meaningful thing to me about these (luncheons): just learning about these women and their families and what they’ve meant to this community in some ways.”
In a year where many mothers took on the role of teacher, hairdresser and caregiver, Sue Birch, the 2020 Honored Mother, encouraged mothers to continue pressing on.
“I want to say to all the mothers and special friends out there: Keep doing what you’re doing that gives you meaning in life,” Ms. Birch said in the video. “Giving to your family, volunteering out in the community — there’s never been any time that you’ve been so needed.”
VNA Health is planning to have its 2022 celebration in-person next May, with hopes to welcome up to 400 guests at the Rosewood Miramar. Planners are hopeful the event can return with its normal charm and live performances.
“(The luncheons) are kind of like a big family getting together,” Lailan McGrath, VNA Health special events manager, told the News-Press. “You know when you have a big family gathering and you see an aunt or an uncle — that’s kind of what our luncheons are like. It’s a very familial feeling.”
This year, the nonprofit is aiming to raise $450,000 through the luncheon to sponsor VNA Health programs such as the Loan Closet, Serenity House Charity Care, Telehealth Care, Palliative Care, Music Therapy, Pet Therapy and the We Honor Veterans Program.
The luncheon, which is the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser of the year, helps VNA Health continue to provide in-person care through various programs. By providing compassionate care, VNA Health hopes to carry on the legacy of the nonprofit’s Marian Watts, a traveling nurse who created the organization more than 100 years ago.
Since many mothers are often seen as a primary caregiver for their children and family, Mr. Keith said the luncheon events are a perfect time to honor both mothers and VNA’s dedicated caregivers.
“It’s perfect that we’re honoring the primary caregivers in our families and in our community and honoring our caregivers at VNA Health who every day are out in the community, helping families just like our moms, just like our caregivers of our own families,” Mr. Keith said. “And so it’s just a perfect dynamic for this organization, for the community to come together in this way. The event gives us an opportunity to tell their story of who they are as moms and the meaning that they brought to their families.”
For more information and to view this year’s Mother’s Day Luncheon, visit vna.health/luncheon.