Pre-Mother’s Day Tea and Luncheon draws almost 115 ladies

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HILLSIDE, NJ — Nearly 115 ladies were in attendance. And all were given a rose from Council President Craig Maurice Epps in celebration of motherhood.

The Pre-Mother’s Day Tea and Luncheon — a yearly Hillside Senior Center event — recently was held at the Hillside Recreation Center, 274 Hillside Ave., Hillside. The event was originally at the Hillside Senior Citizen Center, but moved due to the growing attendance, according to the supervisor of the Senior Center, Mary R. Dawkins.

The event was free and sponsored by University Hospital, in partnership with the township of Hillside. Seniors from Clear View Baptist Church, Newark, were the special guests.

As attendees were coming in, Bruno Lee, aka The Trumpet Man, entertained by playing rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz and ballad hits, which included songs such as “Holding Back the Years,” by Simply Red.

There was a buffet table, desserts and coffee. Each guest was presented with a Mother’s Day Tea ribbon.

Mayor Dahlia Vertreese welcomed the guests and said, “I am overwhelmed and proud to celebrate. Women are often unsung heroes in our community. You don’t have to be a mother, it’s the mothering spirit that is honored today. I’m a mom first. As mayor, I do a lot of things I want to do as a mother, trying to live that mothering spirit, making sure people are seen. There are so many different types of mothering spirits. Take a few minutes to express to yourself the mother’s experience. Send that energy out and love your mom.”

Township Councilman David Feuerstein was also in attendance.
Dawkins was honored with a plaque for her dedication to the Hillside Senior Citizen Center. It was also her birthday and she received flowers and a cake.

“I had a great example in my mom,” she said. “I do what I do in her memory.”

After the ceremony, Vertreese and Epps led the attendees in prayer prior to dining at the buffet.

Other services the Hillside Senior Citizen Center provides include a nutrition program, knitting and crocheting, a weekly book club, health education, social service assistance, ceramics, sewing, gardening, shopping trips, arts and crafts, plays and health fairs — to name a few.

Dawkins said, “Our seniors are from 60 to 94. We have group outings, a bowling team. We have line dancing and bowling on Monday. We distribute food to over 112 homes.”

The Hillside Senior Citizen Center is located at 265 Hollywood Ave. To learn more, call 908-355-8928 or visit:

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta