tar Spangled Babies baby showers were created for one purpose — to give servicemembers in low to mid ranks support for their growing Families. Nearly 42 percent of active-duty military families have children under the age of five, a factor that often brings financial hardship to young enlisted military Families.
Sponsored by Operation Home Front and Booze Allen Hamilton, the most recent Star Spangled Babies baby shower was held at the Corregidor Court Community Center on Nov. 7. The gym was to overflowing capacity with new and expectant military moms.
“The only requirement was the moms be E1 to E6 dependants. We wanted to show our love to new and expectant moms who are financially struggling . . . ” said Holly Cummings, executive director of Operation Homefront-Carolinas.
At tables overflowing with donations, local businesses provided necessities for newborns. Among the vendors present were Enfamil, Blue Star Families, The Carrying On Project, and New Parent Supplement, a resource program for new mothers. The Women’s Club of Raleigh also donated a 10-foot tall pyramid of Huggies diapers.
“I started the Carrying on Project because I know what it’s like to raise an infant alone,” said Kit Jenkins, founder of the Carrying On Project. “As a military wife and former Soldier, I realized the need to make mothers’ lives easier. My baby sling made life easier, but it was also expensive. So I thought, “is there a way I can get companies to donate slings so I can just give them away?”” With this goal in mind, the Carrying On Project began.
After a complimentary lunch, the mothers were given large boxes wrapped in bright paper. Stuffed to the brim with socks, booties, fleece blankets, pacifiers, and about every other newborn necessity possible, the boxes represented all the love Operation Homefront could express.
As she tore off the wrapping paper, Dionne Adams Lukas couldn’t suppress an ear-to-ear smile. “I heard about Operation Homefront through their Thanksgiving outreach last year. Today, I got so many things I needed. I love what Operation Homefront does.”
Hugging a fleece blanket she pulled from the box, Jackie Marte started to laugh. “I don’t know what to say. I’m so happy right now. It’s like I’m opening Christmas presents for my baby in November.”