FORT POLK, La. — A colorful explosion of pinks, blues, yellows and greens — as well as coconuts and leis galore — greeted expectant Fort Polk Families at a Luau themed baby shower held at the Warrior Center July 31.
A buffet of cupcakes and cookies in a variety of flavors were available for children and parents to enjoy as participants heard from various organizations such as Mothers of Preschoolers, the Red Cross, Army Community Service and more. Each organization also had a table set up for first time and seasoned parents to gather information to aid them on their journey to successfully brining their new bundle of joy into the Fort Polk community.
Yamel Munoz, Outreach Program Coordinator, Army Community Service, said ACS wanted to host the baby shower for Fort Polk’s expectant Families because they know being away from family and friends is difficult during such a momentous time in their lives.
“We want them to not only experience a fun event, but also have the chance to win great prizes and get free gifts, as well as gently guide them into what, for many of them, is their first experience as new parents,” she said.
Munoz said the event was also an opportunity to expose young Families to the many resources and organizations available to them.
“Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to make an event like this happen. From the organizations on and off post that took part in the event to the Soldiers from 115th Field Hospital that volunteered their time to set up and man the event, they all worked together to give these Families the tools and resilience they need to thrive,” she said.
Sgt. Emmanuel Owens, 115th Field Hospital, said the baby shower is a good opportunity to not only get to know and bond with other members of the Fort Polk community, but to also support young Families about to have a child.
“Being a father myself, I know it’s an exciting time in their lives and I’m proud to do my part to help give them a joyful experience,” he said.
Ashley Shaw, an expectant spouse, said she thinks the baby shower is a wonderful idea.
“Fort Polk tries to make everyone feel wanted and welcome. I think it’s wonderful that they care enough to do an event like this for moms,” she said.
Several dads attended the baby shower with their spouses.
Sgt. Joshua Brown, 41st Transportation Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, said he feels good about the baby shower and knows his wife is excited about it.
“It’s a great way to get us out of the house and allows us to socialize with others going through the same experience,” he said.
As the shower began to wind down, Rebekah Waibel, an expectant mom, said she thought the event was a lot of fun.
“I was laughing the whole time I was up at the front taking part in the diaper poo shower game. It has been a fun and also a great opportunity to gather information and baby stuff to help get us through this first year. I think that’s amazing and I appreciate it,” she said.