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The Crook County Health Department is offering its second Community Baby Shower to provide mothers of young babies and pregnant women gifts and local resources

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The first Community Baby Shower was a major success, drawing many donations and about double the visitors anticipated.

To provide more support to new local mothers, health leaders are again hosting the Crook County Community Baby Shower.

The event is scheduled for Friday Oct. 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will be held at Carey Foster Hall at the Crook County Fairgrounds. It is designed to celebrate pregnant families and families with newborns to 6-month-olds in the community, especially those who are less fortunate and would otherwise not have the opportunity to have a baby shower.

"There are so many families and pregnant moms who wouldn't normally have the means to have a baby shower," said Vicky Ryan, emergency preparedness coordinator with Crook County Health Department, the organization spearheading the event.

She went on to point out that the event goes beyond the standard shower of gifts that is associated with such occasions.

"It is kind of a resource fair in addition to a baby shower," she remarked.

The event connects pregnant women and new mothers with public health and community resources and offers educational information and an opportunity to ask questions.

"We have only invited vendors that can support maternal and child health for families," Ryan said, adding that information will be for "insurance, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, nutrition and other items of that nature.

Refreshments will be served, and the first 80 pregnant women and new babies 0-6 months to arrive will receive a free swag bag of diapers, wipes and other goodies. The Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce will hold its Prineville Perk at the site that Friday from 8-8:30 a.m. In addition, the Crook County Health Department will give away the sleep sack, which is a pajama-type garment to wear to bed in place of using loose bedding in the crib.

"Some of the new science and studies have shown that there is a higher infant mortality rate with blankets or stuffed animals in the crib," Ryan said. "It (the sleep sack) is not something they can roll over and get tangled up in."

Event organizers are still accepting donations for the Community Baby Shower. Inquiries about donations and participation can be directed to Alyssa Colby at 541-233-8073. Donations can be dropped off at the health department until 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, or at the event prior to its start on Friday.

If last year's event is any indication, the Community Baby Shower should see strong attendance. Ryan gushed that the inaugural event held at the 4-H Clover Building was a huge success, more so than anyone had anticipated.

"We had probably double what we thought we would show up," she said. "That is why we got a bigger space this year."

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