Mom of the Month: Laurine Morris

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - On the third Monday of each month, WITN is recognizing an amazing mother in the east.

This month's mom is not only a mother to two women, she's a mother at her church, and a mother figure for two women grieving from the loss of their own moms.

At a little home in Greenville lives Laurine Morris, 65, who wants nothing more than to spread love and is working to change her community one prayer at a time.

"Children come on the porch for popsicles when it gets hot, and I say, 'OK, you got your popsicle, but before you get it, you have to learn the 23rd Psalm, 'The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.'" She says even adults will come asking for a popsicle and she insists they learn the passage as well.

Kearney Park is Greenville's first low-income housing development and the woman known as Mother Laurine has lived there for 47 years.

One of her daughters says she'll walk around the neighborhood praying and that she has a way of impacting even the toughest faces on the streets.

"You may see people that don't do what we want them to do, but they know in passing this path right here beside my house, they know that there's prayer," Morris says. "And when they get to the lowest point of their life, they knock on the door and say, 'I just need prayer.'"

And on Fridays, you can knock on her door to get a hot meal.

"Friday's fish day," she exclaims. "There are elderly folks living on this row and I serve them."

She's not just a mother in the community, she's a mother to two daughters, has a grandson, and is on the Mother Board at Philippi Church of Christ, meaning she is there for support, visits with the sick, anything her church family may need.

Mother Laurine has also stepped into the mother role for Linda Glover who lost her mom in 2004 and Towana Dunning, who says Mother Laurine helped take care of her mom until she lost her battle with cancer in 2015.

"Just about every day of the week, she came and took care of my mom without us even asking," Dunning says. "Losing a mom is hard, so when you have someone to step in and do what your mom has asked them to do, it's no words, no words. Leaves you speechless."

"She showed me what love looks like," Glover tells WITN. "I've never seen it before in a human being like she has love, for anybody. I don't care who you are, what you are, what you have or don't have. She calls you to raise your bar higher."

Adopting these women into her life just came naturally for a woman who was adopted herself.

"I'm grateful to my real mother for giving this other lady the chance to raise me, but most of all, I'm grateful to God that it happened that way," Morris says.

Morris' open and loving arms have left quite the imprint on one of her biological daughters, Rakim Morris Roach.

"I am just so grateful to have her as a mom," Roach says. "The children in the neighborhood, they call her Mama Rain. 'Mama Rain!' They knock on the door and say, 'We want to pray with you.' She just goes above and beyond to make sure the children for Christmas they have hats, they have gloves, they have the necessities that they need."

Mother Laurine says her fuel for making a difference comes from her own dark past, where she was in an abusive relationship, even witnessing her friend's murder. "Down in the valley has given me understanding to soar just a little bit higher, just a little bit further with my friend."

That friend, her beloved Bible, motivates her morning through night to continue her mission.

"If I live to be 100, and I hope I do, I'll still be cooking dinner on Friday, come get it," she says, filled with laughter.

The women say their next goal is to find Mother Laurine a new home in a safer community, a home that she can finally call her own. Mother Laurine says she prays for that, but knows that God has a purpose for her in Kearney Park.

If you have an amazing mom that you'd like to nominate, email momofthemonth@witn.com.

Every featured mom receives a $100 gift card, as well as free oil changes for a year from Johnny's Tire Sales and Service in Greenville.