It’s not every day that you get to drink tea with Mrs. America.

The ladies at ADEC Day Service at Middlebury can now count themselves among those lucky few whom have sipped tea with a pageant winner.

Mrs. America 2018 Mekayla Eppers, of Bristol, visited the ladies in Middlebury during their weekly Thursday tea time on Oct. 12.

Eppers walked in to cheers, applause and plenty of waving. She sat among the ladies at a large round table, which was covered in a fine, white sheet. On the table was a stainless-steel serving tray with cups of cream and tea bags, a centerpiece of white and yellow roses, and small index cards with questions each lady had written down to ask Eppers.

The ladies grilled Mrs. America on where she gets her dresses (Ashley Rene’s Prom and Pageant in Elkhart), if she gets recognized a lot and what’s next for her.

Eppers, who grew up across the border in Union, Mich., humbly said she gets recognized a lot around town, but not as much when she’s traveling. Up next, she plans to compete in Mrs. World in December, which will be hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The idea to invite Eppers to join the ladies came from Tina Lowe, a direct support professional at ADEC Day Service at Middlebury.

“I’ve been trying to figure out something different for us to do to change it up,” Lowe said. “I wanted to get the clients excited again for tea party and poker.”

After tea and questions, the ladies took turns posing with Eppers in front of a sparkly, homemade Mrs. America backdrop. The staff were excited for their chance to take a selfie with Eppers, too.

Lowe said that it didn’t take much convincing to get Eppers to fit tea time with the ladies into her schedule.

“I just got on to her Facebook page and private messaged her and explained what ADEC was,” Lowe said. “We got together and talked about it and set the date and time!”

Giving back to the community is an attractive ideal for Eppers, who said she was happy that Lowe and the ladies were so excited to include her in afternoon tea.

“The greatest part about our community, specifically in northern Indiana, is that there’s so much support and involvement,” Eppers said. “It means the world to me (to be invited), and I’m honored that they feel I’m worthy to be here.”

Changing up poker day and bringing in some special guests is next on Lowe’s list.

“I have a couple phone calls out to Notre Dame to see if a couple of the players could come to men’s poker,” Lowe said. “I have a couple other ideas in mind that I’m working on, too.”

Before leaving, the alluring aroma of coffee drew Eppers to order a latte from the Gaining Grounds café inside the day service.

“I’m excited about Gaining Grounds, I’ll be visiting here again!” Eppers said. “I hope others continue to come out and visit and support this wonderful program.”

For more pictures of Mrs. America’s visit to ADEC Day Service at Middlebury, check out the gallery below.