Evie St. John showed off a couple fingernails, freshly painted with a light pink hue. She didn't care how exactly they looked.
What mattered more? They had been painted by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Damien Wilson, who along with teammate Mike Pennel and Royals outfielders Alex Gordon and Bubba Starling, helped the Community Services League and area professionals pamper 30 women with Tuesday’s single mothers spa day at BlendWell Community Cafe in western Independence.
“This is worth it,” St. John said, before getting a portrait picture taken with her 5-year-old son Matthew.
The women, identified by CSL's financial coaches and other workers around Eastern Jackson County, received manicures, some makeup work, chair massages, a portrait shot, a gift bag, coffee if they wished and plenty of photo ops.
If needed, CSL provided babysitting in the basement of BlendWell, a former bank building on U.S. 24 west of Sterling Avenue.
“It's been great so far,” said Jesse Payne, even before she received a massage. “It's amazing what they're doing, giving the mothers a break. I don't get much time like this, with five kids.”
The Community Services League often works with the Chiefs and Royals for various events, but when the organizations called shortly after Thanksgiving, President/CEO Doug Cowan said, they hoped to do something different.
“Normally they would do something with kids, but they said ‘Let's do something for single moms.’ How can we execute that?” Cowan said. “So we concepted this event.”
“Single mothers, we know that can be stressful, especially this season,” he said, “so let's make the focus on her. We wanted the attention to be on the moms.”
While Ana Reyes, who manages BlendWell Cafe, showed the Starling and Gordon how to make a French vanilla latte, then showed the ropes to Wilson and Pennel, Tameka Meneal reveled in the attention she received during a pedicure.
“I've never been near a celebrity!” she said.
Another mother, fashionably late to the gathering, was immediately introduced to Pennel and seemed taken aback by the local celebrities present.
“Come here, I don't do handshakes,” Pennel exclaimed as he promptly moved in for a hug.
Though technically a free agent, Gordon hopes to re-sign and finish his career with the Royals, and the team's publicity director, Toby Cook, said the organization had no problem with Gordon donning a jersey at such an event.
“Alex is Alex, and he wanted to do this,” Cook said.
Gordon said he was “just trying to make the rounds, bringing some joy people during this holiday season.”
St. John said the community involvement for the single mothers' spa day was “incredible.”
“The Christmas spirit was definitely involved with this,” she said. “The joy in the mothers' faces, you could see that as they received their gifts.
All (my son) wanted was a signature from one of the Chiefs players, and he got it.”