In the languages of Spanish and Greek, the name “Esmeralda” translates to emerald. Since before the Middle Ages the vibrant green precious stone has been a symbol of protection, love, and wisdom. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed the emerald to be evocative of the Goddess Venus and thought it to be a conveyor of hope and love.

We met an Esmeralda who personifies everything her name, and namesake gemstone, represents. We also discovered an incredible story that seemed appropriate for the upcoming commemoration of Mother’s Day. 

Esmeralda and her 11-year-old daughter, also named Esmeralda, moved into our Breezewood community a little over a year ago. As a single mom, Esmeralda was the sole provider for her and her daughter. When COVID-19 hit their world was turned upside down. A few weeks into the pandemic Esmeralda’s daughter began distance learning and, as the only parent in the house, Esmeralda had to pivot to become a stay-at-home mom.

Brought on by the turn-of-events of the pandemic, and through no fault of her own, Esmeralda was unable to work. With the determination, resourcefulness, and protectiveness only a mother can marshal, Esmeralda provided for her and her daughter by relying predominantly on assistance programs for financial support. This support kept this small family unit together and independent. 

Because of the various impacts of the pandemic and accompanying economic downturn, the Project Access Resource Center at Breezewood began (for the first time ever) a regular food distribution program in response to the needs coming from residents. Esmeralda signed up for the program after seeing a sign in the laundry room about free groceries. This was her first contact with the community center since she moved in.

Esmeralda spoke to her Resident Services Coordinator at Project Access, got registered with the center, and was put on the food distribution list to receive family food boxes bi-weekly. Esmeralda (and Esmeralda) were able to receive fresh produce, meat, and dairy products for the entire month of October because of the food program they enrolled in. Additionally, Esmeralda brought her daughter to the center’s grab and go Halloween event as well and had her participate in the Fall Baking challenge and the Fall dinner giveaway.

Through one mother’s resilience, forethought, and persistence, and with a little assistance from Project Access, another family was able to stay intact and move successfully forward. Like her name implies, Esmeralda exhibited the traits of protection, love, and wisdom as assigned to emeralds.

On this Mother’s Day we salute Esmeralda and all of our mothers, either on staff or among our Residents, who work so hard to care for their families and to provide a warm, safe, and loving home for their families. From all of us, to all of you – we wish you the happiest of Mother’s Days.