The celebration of Mother’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on one of life’s most amazing gifts, the gift of motherhood. Some columns I write do not pertain to everyone in the reading audience, but not this one.

First and foremost, what a blessing it is for each of us to have been given the gift of life by our mother. I do not take for granted the extraordinary prenatal care my mother gave me. In fact, even with all of her effort and the care of her team of doctors, I still came into the world six weeks early and was touch-and-go for my first couple of weeks in the NICU. And now, with two children of my own, I must say I am quite impressed with the work required for a woman to not only bring a baby into this world but also provide it a loving home. Life is a miracle and I appreciate the blessing of life and care provided by my mother. I hope you appreciate that too.

My mother gave of herself daily to raise and nurture me through childhood and early adulthood. One of the greatest gifts I ever received from my mother came after I finished college when she set me up on a blind date with my wife. I still enjoy a great relationship with my mother and enjoy her presence in my life and the lives of my wife and children. I enjoy watching my mother spend her retirement gracefully as she gives back to other young women volunteering at Christian Women’s Job Corps. I am fortunate to get to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day in person this year. All of that to say, I know how lucky I am to have a great mom!

So what does my reflection on my amazing mother have to do with philanthropy? I know that everyone didn’t get to grow up with an amazing mother like mine, and even some of those who did do not get to see their mom again this Mother’s Day. So what can you or I do to honor our mothers this year? There are many great charitable organizations supporting local mothers in our community which are deserving of your support. I am reminded of the parable Jesus told in Luke 12 which closes with these words, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.” Would you consider honoring your mother by giving back?

As I think through my life experiences and the work of the local organizations I have observed, let me mention a few organizations on the front lines helping mothers in our community. Starting before birth, if pregnancy was unexpected, Living Alternatives and The Magdalene Home walk lovingly with young women through difficult choices and the journey into motherhood. The March of Dimes fights to prevent premature birth with education programs and support for young mothers. The Children’s Park provides a peaceful place and support group for mothers who have lost a child. East Texas Crisis Center and the Salvation Army Center of Hope provide safety for mothers and children who need emergency shelter. Buckner Family Pathways in Longview and Lufkin provide transitional support and educational opportunities for single mothers, while Ninos De Promesa and Tyler Day Nursery provide developing language skills and early childhood care for mothers who need these services. Christian Women’s Job Corps and The Literacy Council of Tyler provide education and job skills training for mothers who are trying to make a better life for their families. The Mentoring Alliance and YMCA support working mothers with important after-school programs and mentoring opportunities. If helping women is one of your top priorities, the Women’s Fund of Smith County provides further opportunities for women to work together to support programs benefitting women and girls.

The list goes on, but I think you probably get my message. Whether from the blessings you have experienced with your mother or for the hope you can provide another mother, to one of these great charities may be your next best opportunity to give well.