LAWRENCE — It was an extra happy Mother's Day this weekend for 150 expecting and first-time moms, who marked the occasion at a Community Baby Shower on Saturday with balloons, food, games, and, of course, gifts to take home.

The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley sponsored the event, held at the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council on Essex Street. GLCAC and United Way volunteers staffed the event.  

United Way's Kiara Lum, who assisted with the promotion of the agency's seven showers across the state and in New Hampshire, said Lawrence's moms (and dads) were overwhelmed with the kindness shown at Saturday's in-person event.

"We've had to switch up our event due to COVID protocols, but it was still such a great celebration," said Lum, who is United Way's manager of donor and volunteer engagement.

In Lawrence, like at other Community Baby Showers held on Saturday, guests were given a month's supply of diapers and wipes as well as a $75 gift card to purchase other baby essentials, Lum said.

One thousand moms who were either currently pregnant or had a newborn under 6-months-old were eligible to take part, after being selected by the United Way's community impact team or being referred to the agency through someone in their home community.

All guests also received an invite to an upcoming virtual session with the United Way and Raising a Reader Massachusetts, where other services will be presented and prizes raffled off, Lum said.

It was the first time the event has been held in Lawrence in the shower's 11-year history.

"We didn't want families to have to choose between purchasing diapers for the month over other expenses that come along with having a newborn," Lum said. "There were lots of sighs of relief and 'thank yous.' There's been a lot of challenges through the pandemic, but a lot of silver linings too. We believe it takes a village (to raise a child) and wanted not to just get out resources, but allow (families) to connect with their community during a very exciting time. We hope to continue to be in the community in this way — we're happy to do it."

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