A local group that makes blankets for needy children stages baby benefit
The Shower brought smiles to all who attended. Read the story from the OC Register.
(pictured left are moms from Casa Teresa and Precious Life Shelters)
ANAHEIM Deserie Johnson, 33, is a mother of four who has been the guest of honor at more than one baby shower.
But this was the one that felt as sweet as an infant’s first smile for her. She shared it Saturday with about 20 new mothers and expectant moms.
The benefit for moms staying at five women’s shelters was thrown by Binky Patrol Comforting Covers to celebrate the nonprofit organization’s fifth anniversary of making blankets for needy children.
There were the usual trappings of a party — pale pink, blue and white balloons, chocolate cake on the table, white rose corsages for the moms — and nearly 1,000 gifts.
Girl Scouts Nathalie Davis and Marisa Lansley, both 7 and from Fullerton, were among the 150 who attended. In crisp uniforms and gleaming smiles, the girls took two big trips with their moms’ help to bring in gifts such as child car seats, infant clothes and pacifiers. The gifts were funded by troop “cookie money,” personal funds and donations by others in Placentia and surrounding cities.
Next to the Scouts were Evelyn Johnson and other members of a seniors Binky Patrol group. Since March, Johnson, 76, of Fullerton and her friends have gathered for three hours twice a week to crochet, sew and knit special blankets for the shower. The group also bought infant shoes and packaged them with the one-of-a-kind handmade blankets.
The sights, the words and the personal significance were overwhelming for some moms, who brushed away tears as they rocked or kissed their infants or held their swollen bellies.
“Did you see the beautiful dress?” Deserie Johnson asked another guest. Tucked beneath a cotton-candy-colored tissue in one of several gift bags was a delicate, electric-pleated pink baby dress with a lace collar.
The generosity of strangers lifted her heavy heart a little for the first time since she gave birth to youngest daughter Cherish three weeks ago. Cherish was taken away for two days by authorities when a drug test gave a false positive, she said. Her baby was returned when the mistake was discovered, she said.
Deserie Johnson sought help at a shelter for homeless pregnant women in January. “I had nowhere else to go,” she said. She lost nearly everything that mattered in her life — her husband was jailed for domestic violence, her three children were placed in protective custody, and she was evicted from her home.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my other children,” she said. “They have not seen their baby sister … I will never stop until I get them back.”
“I’m studying human services in Cypress College,” Deserie Johnson said. “I want to give back to the community what they’ve given me.”