Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Phi Zeta Zeta Chapter recently hosted the second annual baby shower for new and expecting parents at Saratoga Family Residence in partnership with Rising Phoenix Foundation, Inc. and National Grid Project C. The mothers and fathers were excited for the opportunity to connect with other parents, learn about available assistance, and receive crucial baby items.

“This annual baby shower is our chapter’s way of ensuring that local families here in Queens receive aid and resources to promote healthy and full-term pregnancies,” said Kimberly Pinkney, 2nd Vice President of the chapter.

The Phi Zeta Zeta Chapter has maintained a strong relationship with Saratoga since the chapter’s founding in 2007, consistently providing support through donations and workshops—most recently by hosting a job preparation workshop for residents.

This year’s baby shower built upon the success of the previous year, expanding its reach and services. The celebration saw a great turnout and featured presentations from various community organizations—including Public Health Solutions’ Queens Healthy Start program, Queens Birth Justice Defenders, Black Coalition for Safe Motherhood, Moms Who Care Inc., and Supporting Our Mothers Initiative, Inc.—to highlight support available to new parents.

“While gifts are important, we also think information is important,” Kimberly added. “We love that our event gives the parents the opportunity to … have a direct connection to each of these community organizations for support and assistance as needed.”

“[We] offer workshops to promote literacy with the youngest of infants,” said Aisha Demosthenes, Co-Founder of Moms Who Care, Inc., who handed out free books in both English and Spanish to the parents. “We encourage new and expecting parents to read with their babies to cultivate the habit of reading from an early age.”

Charline Ogbeni, lactation consultant, doula, and owner of Supporting Our Mothers Initiative, Inc., shared information about the Newborn Home Visiting Program which offers free wrap-around services, including access to lactation consultants, social workers, and nurses.

“We want to make sure that families are connected to resources outside of this event as well, because they are going to need that continuous support long after the baby shower,” said Charline.

“It was helpful to learn about the different resources available to me and [helpful] when the [doula] discussed how to deal with contractions,” an expecting mother shared.

Events like these complement the services already provided by the family services team at Saratoga by connecting parents with specialized resources in a celebratory environment.

“Our clients want to experience the happiness of talking to another pregnant woman about their experience, not having to think about where they are living right now—just focusing on the happiness of having a new child,” said Casandra Mungo-Nixon, Assistant Administrator at Saratoga. “We are always trying to create that sense of normalcy. Letting women—and any of our clients—just feel good about themselves and not having to stress.”

The event also created a sense of community and emotional support for the parents. Parents mingled over a hot lunch and baby-themed games to win prizes of baby essentials, such as diapers and baby wipes.

“We hope this event sends the message that there is support available, whether that be support from our chapter, support from any of the community organizations that were present at the event, or support from the other parents they were able to meet at the event,” said Kimberly.

“[The shower] made me feel happy and supported. It feels good to know that people care about mine and my children’s wellbeing,” one mother shared. “The [baby] supplies were also helpful and came right in time.”

Overall, the baby shower was a resounding success, leaving the families at Saratoga feeling supported, informed, and empowered as they embrace parenthood.

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