Tribeca Mothers Provide a Merrier Christmas for Kids in Shelter

Right: At last year's toy drive, Tribeca's Moms for Moms wrap presents for children in the Samuel Proctor Residence, a homeless shelter in West Harlem. Left: Some of the kids (unidentified) who received the gifts. Photos: Megan Knighton (children); Dennis Cahlo (wrapping)

Dec. 26, 2017

Children in a West Harlem homeless shelter were treated to a happier Christmas, thanks to a group of Tribeca mothers who are dedicated to sharing holiday joy—and a lot more—to people in need.

One evening this month the seven women, organizers of the local group Moms for Moms, harnessed their network of friends for a toy drive and gift wrapping event that provided more than 70 presents for families in the Samuel Proctor Residence. It was their latest gathering in support of Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit dedicated to creating affordable housing, and matching homeless families, often the working poor, with permanent housing.

The local Moms for Moms was started two years ago by neighborhood mothers who met through their children’s playgroups and classes, and decided there are far less fortunate mothers who could use their help. “At some point we felt the need to work together and reach out to our network and to expand, not just supporting each other but supporting other families,” said Moms for Moms’s Ariel Zurofsky. They chose to do that through a relationship with Enterprise.

“When you become a mom, you intuitively start helping other mothers. You hold the door when that double stroller won’t fit through, you pick up a kid's toy when he drops it at the playground and it's kind of an extension of that,” said Blair Sanzone Scheuer, another Moms for Moms member. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us to really get in there and help other moms throughout the city. And I can’t think of a better way than to help another mother find a home for her family.”

Besides responding to the Christmas wish lists of needy children the past two seasons, the women have hosted fundraising luncheons that they say have brought in enough money to help 200 families get a toehold in new housing. The funds go towards providing the needed security deposit for their new apartment. According to Enterprise, 96 percent of the families helped by Come Home NYC, an arm of Enterprise, have remained stably housed.

The women tell the story of a mother named Heavenly, a 26-year-old mother of a 7- and a 2-year old who had been in the Harlem shelter for four years. She learned of Enterprise and Come Home NYC by signing up for the Moms for Moms toy drive, then saw how they could help her. “She began utilizing their programs and within nine month, come September, she was able to get her own home in Staten Island,” said Scheuer. “So Mom for Moms has a dual purpose. Raising funds and awareness.”

“It’s been incredible to tap into this resource of local mothers,” she added, “and use it for a greater good.”

For information on joining Moms for Moms contact Megan Knighton at Enterprise Community Partners, 212-784-7125 or