Over 500 Attend Baby Shower and Resource Fair at Clinton Baptist Church

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CLINTON, Md. — Over 500 pregnant women and new moms crowded Clinton Baptist Church on May 11 for a Community Baby Shower and Resource Fair. The church linked arms with one of its favorite long-time partners, MedStar Health of Southern Maryland, for the win-win event.

A young man named Marvin served pink and blue cupcakes during the baby shower. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

In addition to the needed resources, the church also used the opportunity to build bridges with their community and offer care and prayer support. A prayer room was open near the front, and the church’s outreach team was throughout the building, chatting with moms, encouraging them, giving out tracts, and sharing with those they met as they felt led. Two young women made professions of faith.

Clinton Baptist Church’s pastor, Colin Pugh, welcomed guests with his wife, Jeanette, by his side. “We’re here to celebrate parenthood and raising children,” he said. The couple understands the difficulties that can come with pregnancy—particularly unplanned pregnancy. Colin told the crowd, “We had our first child at 15 in middle school. We were scared and devastated, but we know you can be successful.”

Taking the mic, Jeanette told the crowd, “God has truly blessed you to be a mom or dad. Don’t take that lightly. God loves you. He loves your baby. He died for you. People are going to count you out because you don’t have everything society says you should have as a parent, but God will supply everything you need.” She encouraged new parents to read their Bibles to help guide them.

MedStar brought over 31 vendors offering essentials for new moms and dads. Visitors watched carefully as professionals demonstrated how to install car seats and swaddle a baby. Others showed how to keep kids safe — avoiding fires, treating burns, and preventing overheating. Vendors offered information about autism awareness, creative play, stress management, and exercise for moms and children. Lactation specialists from “Milky Mom” were on hand to help expecting and new moms with nursing techniques and answer questions. Counselors were there to assist in providing services for postpartum needs. “It’s important to connect people with services before the baby gets here,” stressed a counselor named Kristen. Visitors filled their bags with free goodies and information as they moved from station to station and room to room.

Charmaine Scarlett says this baby shower was the first, but won’t be the last! (Photo by Sharon Mager)

In the hallway, a nurse was taking blood pressure, advising moms on the dangers of postpartum preeclampsia, and encouraging them to keep taking their blood pressure. She referred many to their doctors.

Clinton Baptist Church member Colina Pugh, Colin Pugh’s twin sister, arrived in the early morning to decorate the fellowship hall with pink and blue balloons donated by Cheek to Cheek Balloons and fun table decorations with a festive baby theme. MedStar had drawings for small items like onesies and toys and larger ones, including giant boxes of diapers, portable cribs, and car seats.

As a bonus, families could register on the spot for WIC and SNAP. The church also gave away bags of groceries.

Over the past three years, the church and MedStar have often partnered for blood drives, health fairs, prostate screenings, and diabetes prevention.

Charmaine Scarlett, director of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital, shared that, following the work of a community health task force and needs assessments, the studies determined a need for maternal health, especially in the black population.

“We saw disparities, and they’re stark in regards to morbidity for African American moms. Our nation’s national statistics show that one in four moms died in childbirth. When we look at Prince George’s County specifically, it is 40% higher than the national average.

“Childbirth is natural, so what is causing disparity?

A lot of it is access to care, and we wanted to make sure they have access to sustainable care throughout the pregnancy spectrum and postpartum. We know that sometimes there are issues that occur with blood pressure that make preeclampsia an issue in our community.

One of the car seat winners, Tonisha Alston, poses with Jeanette (left) and Colin Pugh (right). (Photo by Sharon Mager)

“We want to make sure that not only are we providing healthy, nutritious food, but we want to make sure we build a safety net of vendors and community partnerships so that the women and families see this is all available here — and not just here, but in their communities,” Scarlett said.

“We are happy to partner with Clinton Baptist on this initiative and all of our initiatives as well.”

Regarding partnerships, Scarlett said of Colin Pugh, “He knocks it out of the park.”

Addressing visitors in closing, Scarlett told families, “We want to be a pillar in the community. We’re here to stay. This is a first, but not the last.”

Colin said to the spiritual need, “The harvest is plentiful. In addition to providing physical resources, we need to understand the spiritual aspect. They need God and can’t make it without him.

We’re using this platform to put God on a stage so people will be drawn to Him by what we say and do here.”

(Feature photo: Molette Green (with mic) from NBC4 Washington shared a live promo feature about the resource fair/baby shower live from Clinton Baptist Church. Photo used with permission)