This past weekend, Eric and I were involved in one of my favorite events of the year. Nope, it wasn’t a hipster blogger’s conference, organic food festival, or epically raging party. It was the Community Baby Shower, a service event that our church has held for the past several years. Eric spent hours putting together a recap video, that brings tears to my eyes each time I watch it.
Okay I’m back. If you haven’t heard of an event like this before, basically people from the church and community donate thousands of items for newborns through age five, dozens of volunteers sort and organize the donations, then hundreds of families from all over come to receive FREE baby and kid items that they need.
I’ve always loved this event, but this year was especially precious to me as a new mom on a budget the size of a postage stamp. Not only were we able to get some items we needed for Corban (how did I not realize that I only have one pair of shorts in six month size, which yes, he is already wearing at four months), but I finally truly understood the joy and sense of love that the moms walking through that door were experiencing.
I wore Corban on me for two days of sorting, and then all day during the baby shower. Nothing like lugging a 17+ pounder strapped on your body for three days to make you feel pregnant all over again! But it was so much fun to see the smiles he put on people’s faces as I ran around filling needs wherever I saw them.
The line of patiently waiting people you see, behind the tables of toys, are personal shoppers. Dozens of volunteers gave one on one attention to each person attending the shower: lugging the giant IKEA bag for them, guiding them to the area that hopefully held exactly what they were looking for, but also chatting with them and offering support and encouragement as needed.
There were a bunch of cheerful volunteers from World Vision who handed out bags of food and helped transfer people’s finds into boxes and carry them to their cars. Several muscly men from the church ran the large item area and helped get things like beds, highchairs, and play equipment loaded into vehicles.
The kids area housed the oh so popular balloon man, a popcorn machine, and the story lady from the library next door (who has completely captured my heart!).
The lobby had a bunch of community resource tables, including Public Health, where people could sign up for all sorts of great services from breastfeeding support to nutrition education.
I’m somewhat exhausted, but oh so blessed to have been a part of the shower. In fact, it kind of went hand in hand with some pretty convicting thoughts I’ve been having lately about the ridiculous amount of “stuff” I own and how little of it I actually use or need. That’s a whole 18 paragraph post in itself, but let’s just say that I am on a mission and excited to share more as it unfolds.
Like the Empty Bowls fundraiser for the local foodbank, this event was born from someone seeing a need and coming up with an idea to meet it. It started out small, but just a few years later it’s made a difference for hundreds and hundreds of families. Be inspired people! I know I am.
(Special thanks to my dear friend Kristen Ward for sharing her beautiful photos for this post!)