Local moms and their little ones met at Lions Club Park on Friday for the launch event of the MOMS Club of Killeen chapter.

“This is an informal gathering to let moms know about us and to meet some of the moms in the area so we can begin to get our members together,” said chapter president Christina Stokley.

The club provides support for at-home mothers through social events and service projects geared toward mother and child interaction.

“It gives moms the opportunity to bond with each other while their children learn to play with kids their own age,” Stokley said.

Membership is $20 a year and is open to any mothers, civilian and military. The MOMS Club meets every weekday, Monday through Friday, and provides a fun, safe place for families, Stokley said.

Guests, many of them new to the area, mingled under the park’s pavilion.

“We’ve been here two weeks and I thought this would be good to meet moms and to network,” Katrina Weem said. “As a military mom, I think it will help to relate to other spouses and get the support that’s necessary for us.”

Katelyn Thomson came to the event with her son, Jackson, to create fun experiences and to start over after many of her friends moved away from the area, she said.

“Military families have so many changes that go on in our lives that we really need to look out for each other.”

Stokley and vice president Tanya Garza founded the Killeen chapter after their husbands were assigned to Fort Hood from Fort Gordon, Ga.

Both were members of the MOMS Club in that area, and when Stokley decided to start one in Killeen, Garza jumped onboard.

“Christina was going to do it no matter what; she was gung ho about it,” Garza said. “I was happy to help her because I knew the area, and I really enjoyed being a part of the MOMS Club.”

One part of the club’s mission is to provide a support structure that some mothers lack while away from their families, Stokley said.

“It gives you a sense of community when you first move to an area and you don’t know anyone. We’re a really close-knit group and we can learn from each other’s experiences.”

MOMS Club is a nonprofit with more than 2,000 chapters around the world.

The organization’s special support system is what sets it apart from the rest, Garza said.

“We don’t just get together and have play groups; our organization actually helps mothers when they’re in need through our mother-to-mother fund,” she said.

For more information or to become a member, email Stokley at www.killeenmoms@gmail.com.

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