Not your typical baby shower

Published 9:46 pm Monday, February 12, 2018

The Suffolk Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. held a baby shower on Friday, but not for a particular mother-to-be.

Like many baby showers, it included refreshments and fun games. But instead of one recipient, the organization’s shower collected donations for the Diapers for Haiti cause, and the response from a number of local community groups was so overwhelming that the Suffolk Art Gallery was overflowing with donations.

Delta Sigma Theta decided on philanthropy projects last August, and during the deliberation the group landed on Diapers for Haiti, a charity that sends cloth diapers and other necessities to new mothers in Haiti.

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They decided to have a baby shower, and it was a large one. More than 100 women attended the event.

Diapers for Haiti and Sisters of Mercy Foundation signed on with the sorority for the event, and all the donations will be packaged and sent to them before going to Haiti.

“We decided on the project a long time ago,” said Dee Brown, Delta Sigma Theta member. “We have to do it in the beginning of the sorority year, and we have to present the idea to the chapter.”

The project grew even larger with an idea from Helivi Holland, Delta Sigma Theta member, to include other women’s organizations from Suffolk. Holland contacted organizations in November to gather participants, and 12 groups joined the cause.

Many of the participants brought cloth diapers, diaper pins and rash cream, but some of the participants got creative and gave their gifts a personal touch, donating handmade quilts and crocheted items.

By the end of the event, Delta Sigma Theta had to add four additional tables to its original setup to make room for the gifts.

Other items donated included onesies, baby powder, shampoo, wash cloths and blankets.

Bethlehem Christian Church had a baby shower last week, and the church brought in large boxes of donations to help bolster the other donations made during the shower.

“Two surprise donations were received within two days of the event — $300 from Church Development Services of Virginia Beach, project manager of the First Baptist Church Mahan Street new sanctuary construction, for the purpose of purchasing gifts, and $100 from Aubrey and Janice Holland of Faith Works for the provision of the food and decorations for the shower,” Helivi Holland stated in an email.

At the end of March, the Sisters of Mercy Foundation will be making another mission trip to Haiti, and all of the donations will be transferred during the trip. Dee Brown will be in charge of transporting the donations to the group.

“There’s so much stuff I’m going to have to find an alternate vehicle to make the trip,” Brown said.

The group estimated that there were more than 1,500 gifts collected, valued at more than $5,000. The gifts will be donated to orphanages and urgent care centers in Haiti.

The groups that participated were:

  • Xi Delta Delta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi International of Suffolk
  • Suffolk Business Women
  • Nansemond Chapter No. 31, Order of the Eastern Star
  • Emily G. Davis Fellowship, Greater First Baptist Church
  • Suffolk Chapter of The LINKS Inc.
  • Canaan Baptist Church Women’s Ministry
  • Bethlehem Christian Church WOW Ministry
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. — Zeta Epsilon Omega
  • First Baptist Church Mahan Street Deaconess Ministry
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. — Epsilon Theta Zeta Chapter
  • Suffolk Chapter of CHUMS
  • The Suffolk Chapter of Les Gemmes
  • Suffolk Chapter of Las Amigas