The shower focuses on items including health, wellness and literacy.
By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
YOUNGSTOWN — Pink and blue balloons floated above tables where expectant and new moms played games, ate cake and received gifts.
But it wasn’t a typical baby shower. The event Monday was the fourth annual citywide baby shower sponsored by the Associated Neighborhood Centers’ McGuffey Centre.
The shower at the center on Jacobs Road was open to the public.
“We have people from Mahoning County, Trumbull County,” said Jennifer Miller, executive director. “Anybody who wants to come can come.”
The event takes place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day because it’s a day many people are available to attend, and it fits with King’s ideas about educating the masses, Miller said.
Participants receive health, literacy and nutrition information from a variety of sources.
The Women, Infants and Children program and the Mahoning/Youngstown Community Action Partnership also sponsor the event.
This year, vendors included insurance companies, dentists, medical facilities and others.
Miller hopes those who attend take away information to lead healthier lives.
“Humility of Mary [Health Partners] just did a presentation about breast feeding,” Miller said. “It’s a bingo game, and by listening to the presentation, you can win prizes, but it’s really helpful information: How to be healthy, how to raise a healthy child. And that’s to me, the most important aspect: Health, wellness and literacy.”
Nyah Anderson of Youngstown listened to the breast-feeding information with interest.
Due in early April with her first child, Anderson attended the shower for the first time.
“I didn’t want to [breast-feed] at first,” she said. “But I guess I can now since I learned some more information about it.”
Vilma Fernandez of Youngstown attended this year’s event for the third time. She learns something new every year, she said.
“It’s a really good thing to come to. It’s free. It’s open to the public,” she said.
She enjoys mingling with the others who attend. Her 2-year-old daughter, Christina Scott, also had fun.
They have toys for the kids, Fernandez said.
“We have gifts for mom and baby. So everybody will leave here with something,” Miller said. “We also have refreshments and cake and punch. So it really is a baby shower.”