South Jersey woman donates Mother’s Day gifts in memory of her daughter

CAMDEN COUNTY, N.J. (WPVI) — “When we create these gift bags, they have to be special because every mom is special,” said Susan Rose. “And I want this gift to make her realize that someone cares.”

Rose dedicated the last 22 years of her life to wearing the motherhood coat left by her daughter. Susan Rose Albert died at the age of 40 in a car accident in Morocco. She is now survived by her family and a foundation that bears her namesake.

The Lauren Rose Albert Foundation provides grants to women in need. But it is also home to a program known as “Mothers Matter”, which was designed to send gifts of personal care products to women in South Jersey.

“The first year was 265 Mother’s Day gift bags,” Rose said. “We’ve done over 53,000.”

For the first time in two years, Rose and her team of volunteers were able to visit child care centers like the Loida Development Center II and the Greater Collingswood Children’s Center. There they gave gifts to mothers and sent children home with bags for their mothers.

“Oh my God, I’m so grateful,” said Natasha Rodriguez, director of Loida Development Center II. “These are gifts we did not expect.”

A mother of two and role model to dozens of children, Rodriguez relishes the rewards and challenges she faces.

“There are a lot of parents here who will also be grateful for that because everyone has a different situation in life,” she said. “We don’t know what everyone is going through. And the smallest thing is always a plus.”

Mothers Matter has since expanded into a year-round effort. But their fundraising and donation efforts were significantly curtailed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It permeated every part of their organization, even down to their physical headquarters in Washington Township.

“We pay the rent, the utilities, the insurance,” Susan Rose said. “If we can’t afford it anymore, we’re going to have to look elsewhere, or God forbid, Mothers Matter will have to shut down.”

Susan Rose hopes the community will keep its mission alive through other methods of support.

“We just hope it doesn’t happen because what we do is different,” she said. “And we touch so many lives in such a small way.”

To learn more about Mothers Matter and the Lauren Rose Albert Foundation, visit their website.

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