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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Just days before Mother’s Day weekend, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs announced a new initiative aimed at helping single mothers struggling during the ongoing pandemic.

The Stockton Strong Emergency COVID-19 Relief Fund partnered with other local organizations to give $60,000 in gift cards to single mothers. 

“They came just in time because I really needed it,” said Dara Kitchen.

Kitchen is one of 120 single mothers throughout Stockton handpicked to receive a $500 gift card just in time for Mother’s Day. 

“I have four kids all together but two of my kids don’t live in Stockton at the moment,” she told FOX40. “But now that I got the money, I can actually go see them.”

Kitchen recently got out of prison and said working to get her life back on track has been even more challenging during the pandemic. 

“I’m just getting back on my feet,” Kitchen explained. “It’s been a struggle trying to keep a job, find a job. I just finally went through a temp agency and, you know, I got some work but they cut down hours and letting people go because it’s COVID-19. so, it’s still hard trying to make ends meet.”

The city is partnering with four local nonprofits, including the Women’s Center – Youth and Family Services, the Child Abuse Prevention Council, Mary Magdalene Community Services and the Family Resource and Referral Center.

“While we’re working hard to begin to open up businesses, while we’re working incredibly hard to make sure our first responders and essential workers have the things we need, and we take time to pause and make sure folks know that we see them. And this Mother’s Day we want to send a special shout out to the single mothers,” Mayor Tubbs said.

Each agency independently picked 30 women to receive the gift cards. 

“I’m hopeful that this Mother’s Day, this economic stimulus will give them kind of the hand-up that they need to ensure that their families are taken care of, their children are provided for during this COVID-19 time,” Tubbs said.

While the money can be put to so many good uses, San Joaquin County Child Abuse Prevention Council Executive Director Lindy Turner-Hardin reminds mothers the focus, at least for a day, should be on themselves.

“To the moms who are beneficiaries of this amazing gift, it’s time to be a little bit selfish and spend some of the money on you,” she said.

Mayor Tubbs told FOX40 all 120 mothers have already been notified they were selected and said the gift cards will be delivered to them before Mother’s Day.