Wayne Westland Corps Hosts 19th Annual Community Baby Shower

Jun 13, 2023

Michigan has the seventh highest infant mortality rate in the United States.

That is a statistic which has haunted Carol Sharp for years and inspired her to start Warm Hearts – a non-profit organization that hosts community baby showers to educate and provide resources for pregnant mothers. The majority have been hosted at the Salvation Army Wayne Westland Corps Community Center.

This year’s shower kicked off last Friday, June 2 with breakfast in the gym. Donated gifts of diapers, bottles, parenting books and more filled the tables as attendees socialized.

After breakfast Sharp addressed the group and announced the day’s itinerary. She quoted this sad statistic and stressed the importance of being informed.

“Those little packages are pretty fragile and it’s a big responsibility to understand what’s happening to them. The best thing you can do is educate yourself,” Sharp said.

Following breakfast there were breakout sessions on a variety of topics, such as breastfeeding and baby safety.

*Women of Ford Finance volunteers

Warm Hearts has been going strong for over 20 years with the help of dedicated volunteers and partners. The Salvation Army Wayne Westland Corps has been a primary partner for most of these years and, starting next year, will officially take over the event’s operations. Looking back on how it began, Sharp said:

“I came to The Salvation Army here and asked if we could use their building. We didn’t have any money. We said we’d muster some up, and that was the beginning. And then we were needed in Detroit, then in Flint.”

The other primary partner was Wayne Metro, a community action agency that provided a seeding grant which paid for some items distributed at the shower.

Helping to run the event were nine volunteers from Ford Motor Company’s Women of Ford Finance, one of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion groups. These volunteers helped ensure the event ran smoothly.

Envoy Andy Barylski, the officer leading the Salvation Army Wayne Westland Corps, has been working with Sharp for 15 years, his wife having attended two of the Community Baby Showers.

“Carol’s motto in the whole thing is, ‘you are the magic.’ Giving ladies hope is what I’ve seen. With Carol and partnering with The Salvation Army we really want to embrace that. This is a huge need. It is about doing something to help people in the community. Instead of just having a good feeling, or wishful thinking toward it, Carol wanted to jump in and help,” Envoy Andy said.

*Envoy Andy Barylski and Carol Sharp

They recall one memorable year at a community baby shower when the then mayor of Westland, Bill Wild, came to the Corps Community Center with a pickup truck full of diapers which he donated for the event.

This sort of community support is essential to keeping this great event going year after year.

An attendee of this year’s baby shower, Schquwana, who is 8 months pregnant expressed her gratitude for the shower:

“This is the third community shower I’ve been to. Just trying to gather a few things you know. It was kind of hard during COVID money-wise, so this is a good thing for the community.”

*Community baby shower attendee Schquwana

“It is definitely needed. Because right now I live in a shelter. So, anything I can get for my baby is very needed.”

Though Carol Sharp’s involvement will be less in the coming years, it is good to know the event will continue to help mothers like Troup at the Wayne Westland Corps Community Center for years to come.

If you would like to help The Salvation Army continue events like the community baby shower, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer, and donate to your local corps.


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