Community Baby Shower offers gifts and prayers

For the 30 moms-to-be at Destiny Church’s Saturday Community Baby Shower in Orange, the blessings took many forms.

There were tables filled with baby bags filled with essentials – diapers, wipes, bottles and formula. Others donated clothing, baby blankets and information on resources for pre- and post-natal care.

At almost every station, however, was the gift of prayer.

Donna Wells laid her hand on Isabella Gray’s bulging belly as she and members of Wells of Agape – a multi-faceted Christian support group founded by her and her husband Ronald Wells – prayed for Gray and her baby .

The gift of prayer was the last Gray received after she and her mother Deominique Gray completed the baby station circuit. It was a welcome blessing in addition to the much-needed items she received for her first baby in three months – a boy she named Sebastian.

A hernia caused by severe morning sickness early in her pregnancy kept Gray from working.

“I can’t lift anything over 5 pounds, so I haven’t been able to do much at work,” she explained, adding that financially “it all really fell on my parents and the baby’s dad. . It really helps take some of that burden off.

It was a prayer repeated throughout the day at Wells of Agape station.

Member Valorie Istre extended blessings to Molly Hughes, pregnant with her second baby, as her mother Liana Meaux and daughter Felicity Hughes stood nearby.

“You are going to have times when you feel overwhelmed. You are going to have times when you feel like you are not doing things right. You are going to have times where you feel like you are not worthy of this blessing, but God appointed you to be their mother for a reason,” Istre said.

“It’s so beautiful,” said Destiny Church pastor Johnny Aseveda as he watched the event unfold. “They get encouragement and blessings,” he said, while getting the necessities for the babies to come — the very needs that prompted Aseveda to create the event.

“In the last few months in particular (at the church pantry) we have started to get an influx of pregnant women and new mothers in need of diapers, car seats, etc. This idea was born seeing that need and wanting to meet that need,” says Aseveda.

A community baby shower is not a one-size-fits-all concept, he noted. “They’ve been around for a while, but I’ve never seen one here, and if there’s a need, we’re looking to fill it.”

Aseveda created a Facebook post, reaching out to other churches to spread the word. He also looked for local businesses in which to place donation boxes. More than ten have been placed throughout Orange County. Some deposit sites, like High Tides, have gone further by offering discounts to those who donate to the cause.

“I’m so grateful to the establishments that helped support this and make it an Orange County baby shower,” he said.

Her messages also attracted organizations like Birthright of Orange, Hope Women’s Resource Clinic in Beaumont, the Red Cross and Wells of Agape to partner with the event.

It was a blessing for Aseveda, who said, “We had an explosion of moms reaching out after the registration announcement.” The extra help allowed them to stay open an hour beyond the taped event, offering all remaining items and services to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

It was a service that Birthright of Orange director Vivian DeJohn and her colleague Clara Fults were happy to provide.

“We’re basically right next door (to Destiny Church), and that goes with what we do,” DeJohn said. For 30 years, Birthright of Orange has offered support programs for women with unplanned pregnancies, including clinics, nutritional support and even home nursing care for up to a year after the baby is born.

“This (event) helps to let people know who we are and where we are in case they need us,” Fults added.

And for some of the women at Saturday’s event, that kind of need was just one of many.

Some needed it all, like Bree Geary and Matt Harmon, who are expecting their second child – a boy – in August and signed up after seeing a Facebook post.

“We just moved here from the Midwest, so it’s been a really tough transition,” Geary said. After finding work – he as a bus driver for BISD and she with a local security company – the couple recently found a home in Port Arthur.

“It’s a bigger place where we can have a room for the baby,” Geary noted.

Harmon said, “It was a steal for a house” – a repairman they could afford with landlord financing. But the family has little left to meet future needs.

“At the moment we don’t have anything for him other than a crib, so that really helps,” Geary said.

This is precisely the kind of hole that Aseveda intended to fill.

“We like to serve the city, and we don’t just serve on Sundays; it’s service to our community every day,” he said.

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