About four hundred expectant moms gathered at the Robert Treat Hotel Saturday for the third annual Community Baby Shower, where the ladies received strollers, car seats, baby clothes and other necessities.
Organizers said the event has grown in popularity, with just 300 moms taking part last year.
Mayor Cory Booker presided over the event, calling out numbers during a raffle and later greeting moms and members of their soon-to-be-larger families.
“We’ve been working really hard to create a network of support for families,” said Booker.
“This is something special. We think it’s going to become one of the great Newark traditions,” Booker added, before diving into the crowd to speak with the families enjoying a buffet lunch.
The event was sponsored by the Family Success Centers of Newark Now, a nonprofit service organization founded nine years ago by Booker, in partnership with Delta Children’s Products, Horizon NJ Health and KIDS (Kids in Distressed Situations).
Another 18 organizations and businesses also provided support for the event, including Tinkles Baby Gifts, Johnson & Johnson, NJ Book Ladies and Brick City Coffee.
For many of the families, this weekend’s shower was a first, said Chesha Hodge, director of the Newark Now Family Success Centers.
“There are some people on their fifth child who have never had a collaborative celebration,” Hodge said.
Hodge noted, however, that Saturday’s event was about more than presents and a nice party for moms. Newark Now works with various city organizations to identify expectant moms help them obtain support, such as neonatal care, classes and other services for expectant parents.