WASHINGTON (WJLA) — There’s nothing a mom on a mission can’t do. In just a matter of weeks, a group of Washington mothers organized more than a thousand local families to host students coming to the nation’s capital for March for Our Lives.
Organizers of the March 24 demonstration estimate a crowd of 500,000 to call for gun reform on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Elizabeth Andrews knew she wanted to help students find a place to stay when they travel to the march in Washington.
“I think my first thought was we would just find the group who does this sort of thing,” she said.
It turns out, there isn’t one. Andrews and a group of moms decided to create March For Our Lives Lodging.
“It’s not a red or a blue cause. This is all about protecting our kids and protecting each other,” she said.
The group of women is coordinating host families who are offering up a room. In just a couple weeks, more than 1,000 families volunteered to house a student or march participant.
“The kids in Florida have really shown the way and we as parents, the least we can do suit up and do our best to help them,” Julie Steward said.
Steward calls herself the matchmaker in the group. She finds the students and their chaperones a free place to stay.
“It would be simple to just do it beds-and-heads. You know, we have three beds, we have three people that want them and match them but it seems really important to me to make it a match that will be memorable,” Steward said. "So, I go to the Facebook page, their LinkedIn and I kind of do a little bit of research and decide, ‘Yes, I think this person would enjoy hosting this person,’ and vice versa.”
One of those students who is paired up with a host family is 17-year-old Joselande Milius.
“It feels good to know that we have people out there who are supporting us and people who stand behind what we believe in,” she said.
Milius is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the high school that lost 17 students and teachers during the Valentine’s Day shooting. She said the only way she’s able to come to the March 24 demonstration is because of the DC moms.
“We from the Douglas family and all of us from Florida we really appreciate you guys. You are giving us a home without knowing who we really are. We are just strangers and yet the fact that you believe in us as tomorrow’s leaders. I am really happy to know that we have good people in this world,” Milius said.
It’s not just students from Florida staying with local families.
“We have people coming from Minnesota, upstate New York, Oregon, Washington state. Really all over the place,” Andrews said.