Grass-Roots Nonprofit Taps Into Mom Power To Help Struggling Parents

By Valerie Wigglesworth The Dallas Morning News.

Five years ago, Cate Biggs signed up on Facebook: first name Frisco, last name Moms.

She started posting about local deals and mom-owned businesses. But she quickly discovered that women really just wanted a place to talk. The grass-roots group grew. It became a place where suburban moms sought out one another online for advice, for wisdom and for inspiration. And as they came across a mom in need, they stepped up to help.

These days the group's founder is looking to harness the power of motherhood in a much bigger way.

Frisco Moms Care recently became certified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It has a board of directors with Biggs at the helm. It also has officers and committees assigned to tackle everything from service projects to fundraising to social events.

"It's exhilarating," said Biggs, who has three kids and has poured her heart and soul into building what she calls a sisterhood. "I want Frisco Moms Care to bring a small-town feel to a very up-and-coming city."

At its core, Frisco Moms is about helping other mothers, whether they need prayers during tough times, a recommendation for home repair or a meal on the table for their kids.

For Shannon Waters-Bland, Frisco Moms became a lifeline of sorts when she was on bed rest while pregnant with her youngest, Addie, who's now 22 months old.

"It was the only social outlet I had," said Waters-Bland, who has nine kids and is now vice president of fundraising and donations for the nonprofit.

"Being able to post on Facebook and get some immediate feedback from other women that you consider your friends is an amazing thing," she said.

Added Biggs: "It's like having 3,500 sisters."

One mom recently posted several photos of herself with different eyeglass frames and sought input. She got more than 230 responses. Another posted about being stranded at home and her car needing a jump-start so she could get to a hockey game. One mom came to her rescue in minutes.

For the past three years, Frisco Moms has collected gift bags to deliver on Mother's Day to women whose kiddos are in long-term hospital care.

Last month, moms and their kids put together care packages with soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and other toiletries for homeless people in Dallas.

This month they are collecting donations for 24 moms who applied for help with Christmas meals.

"I just want to be a part of something bigger," Lindsey McDavid said about her reason for joining. "We're making a huge difference every day."

Robin West didn't know Frisco Moms existed when she developed a complication during her first pregnancy. At 29 weeks and six days, she had a C-section to deliver her stillborn son. She and her husband couldn't afford to bury Henry James West in the family's plot in Sanger. They were considering a pauper's grave when Frisco Moms heard about their plight and rallied to raise the money.

Weeks later, on Valentine's Day, Biggs dropped off a care package at West's home just off U.S. Highway 380 in Savannah. The two settled into rocking chairs on the front porch. Sometimes they talked. Sometimes they sat in silence.

"She saved my life," West recalled about that 2013 visit. "I wasn't leaving my house. I thought nobody understood or cared."

The two are now good friends. West is mother to 1-year-old Ben. And she has an active role with Frisco Moms.

Biggs said she's trying to create a group to offer the sort of help she wished she'd had years ago when she was a young single mom. "I struggled silently," she said.

The group is well-established in the community. And while there's still a lot of work to do to get organized, Frisco Moms' new status will allow it to do even more. Among the plans: a school supply drive, a health fair and a dedicated warehouse space where moms can donate items that other moms can pick out at no cost.

Volunteering and service work are big parts of Frisco Moms. But making friends and helping new mothers and those new to Frisco find their way are just as important. So the group hosts social events. In the works, for example, is a speed-dating type of event to allow moms to meet other moms.

"I can't change the world," Biggs said, "but I can change the world around me. ... Positivity builds on positivity, and it becomes infectious."

To learn more, visit Frisco Moms Care online at www.fmcares.org

On Twitter: @vlwigg

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