HUNTINGTON - The summer season often marks a season of celebration and giving in the form of weddings, new jobs and even the birth of babies, and that kind of celebration of new life and the potential therein was the focus of a special sort of baby shower at one Huntington center Wednesday.
The goodwill and supplies for newborn babies piled up fast at River Valley Child Development Services Wednesday morning as the organization hosted a baby shower benefit for Lily's Place, which helps babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome - exposure to opioids during pregnancy.
The event was part of River Valley's year of celebration for its 45th anniversary, which includes targeting and supporting one local nonprofit organization each month of 2016, said Suzi Brodof, executive director of River Valley.
"The support's been overwhelming," Brodof said. "It seemed like a natural thing to do because it's our mission to be there for children and their families and to be partners of our community and meet our community's needs. We thought maybe there was something we hadn't touched on yet, so that's what we've been doing, is reaching out."
Dozens of packages of diapers, baby clothes, office supplies and even a rocking chair were displayed next to the usual baby shower fare, including sweet treats and delicate pastel decor. Large and small, supply drives in the form of baby showers have become a productive way for individuals and area entities to support Lily's Place.
Staff at Lily's Place care for babies with NAS after they are approved to leave the hospital. It costs Lily's Place about $600 per baby per day to provide treatment, and the facility admitted its 100th newborn patient in April.
In addition to providing health care to infants, Lily's Place facilitates counseling and treatment to their families both during and after their stay at the facility.
"We're caring for those babies that were born exposed to drugs, and we also want to provide help and support for their families," said Madison Anderson, director of development for Lily's Place. "When babies leave Lily's Place, we want to help encourage total wellness so the baby is going home to a healthy family."
In addition to Lily's Place, River Valley staff will sponsor events in support of Mid-Ohio Valley Fellowship House in Parkersburg and the American Red Cross in July. For a complete list of upcoming River Valley events, visit www.rvcds.org.