By Megann Horstead | For The Sentinel
It was an afternoon dedicated to women in the community last weekend at the Joliet Elks Club.
Shorewood Lions International hosted its inaugural Mom-A-Rama, a community event focused on providing a space for women to connect over food, live music and shopping, as well as promote small businesses. It also featured a raffle, a 50/50 drawing and a live auction.
“What we were doing is we were planning our annual pancake breakfast, and I thought to myself, ‘let’s add some vendors—eight or 10 vendors,’” said Noelle Viola, president of Shorewood Lions International. “Pretty quickly when I put out the call for vendors, all of a sudden I had 30 vendors.”
That’s when the club decided to make the event special for the moms in the community, Viola said.
This year, the Mom-A-Rama hosted more than 70 vendors.
“We’ve had kind of steady flow since I’ve gotten here at about 10:30 a.m.,” said Julie Hannik, a consultant for Honey & Lace by Julz. “I know visitors were shopping up noon… It’s a beautiful day.”
Honey & Lace by Julz is a vendor that focuses on providing clothing for women and girls. From shirts and leggings to dresses and cardigans, they provide just about anything you can imagine, Hannik said.
“It’s a good way to get the business name out there,” Hannik said. “Because we’re fairly new, they’re learning about us.”
“They love what they see and they love what they feel, so I’m happy with that,” Hannik said. “It’s about getting the word and spreading it.”
Hannik said it’s nice to see how the event can work two-fold by promoting small businesses and the work of the Shorewood Lions Club.
“I’m all about supporting anybody, anything in the community,” she said.
Attendee Michele Ryjewski, of Joliet, said she was enjoying her afternoon at the Joliet Elks Club.
“There’s a lot of different stuff,” she said. “I’m enjoying see all the different creative stuff.”
“Some of this stuff, I’ve never heard of, but it’s really unique and kind of cool stuff,” she said.
Ryjewski dropped in with the hope of finding her favorite vendor, LuLaRoe.
“I like the clothes,” she said.
Ryjewski said the turnout for the Shorewood Lions Club event was nice to see.
“Anything local I usually try to support,” she said. “You got to support your local stuff.”
A portion of the proceeds raised at the inaugural Mom-A-Rama supports the Shorewood Lions International and its mission to assist children and seniors in the community in fulfilling their hearing and vision needs.
“We get kids, seniors—anybody who doesn’t have insurance coverage—we will get eye exams, hearing exams and the devices they need,” Viola said.
Shorewood Lions International helps support close to 100 people each year.
“I hope that nobody is at home saying, ‘I can’t see and I can’t do anything about it,’” Viola said. “I think it’s important that people know that organizations, like the Lions Club, is out there.
“We’re a small chapter, like I said,” Viola said. “We’re the first nonprofit in Shorewood. We’ve been here since 1963, and a lot of the people in our community don’t even know who we are… I think people need to know that the Lions Club is here to support, and I hope that one day those who can’t afford to do for themselves count on us to help them, because that’s what we want to do.”