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FAITH & FAMILY — Community groups hosting baby shower for young mothers in need

For their 2019 Thanksgiving project, the Port Arthur chapters of Top Ladies of Distinction and Top Teens in America are hosting a “Thankful Blessings” Community Baby Shower to assist selected young mothers-to-be in the community.

Top Ladies of Distinction (TLOD) and Top Teens in America (TTA) participate in Port Arthur projects that reach out to help senior citizens, women and teens.

Sharla Viltz, financial secretary for Top Ladies of Distinction and assistant TTA advisor, said they chose this year’s project after seeing a lack in support for young mothers.

“We were deciding on our projects for the year and one of my brother’s organizations in Houston had done a community baby shower some years ago,” she said. “I thought it would be a good idea for our Top Teens to be able to participate in an event like that. We want to teach them community skills and learn how to help someone in need.”

Viltz said once they announced the idea for the community baby shower, donations started pouring in from various organizations and individuals across Mid- and South County, as well as Houston.

“The target, and the whole goal behind the community baby shower, is ‘thankful blessings,’” she said. “We want to help young mothers. Some are starting out, some are in need and this is a project for us to reach out and be a blessing to someone else.”

Annie Carter, vice president of TLOD and co-advisor for TTA, said the project specifically focuses on young mothers who are unlikely to have any other support system.

“We have role models here at TLOD and for young mothers, no one is supporting them,” she said. “So even if folks are having a difficult time, it’s important to say let me help. We’re trying to model that for the young teens in the program. They will be at the baby shower, helping out and providing donations as well.”

Martha Viltz, correspondence secretary for TLOD and TTA, said oftentimes they hear stories from the teens about peers who are in difficult situations and how it’s important to feel like somebody their own age is there for them

“It’s more special because the aide is coming from the teens,” she said. “Our students are all aboard for this. They want to help.”

Seven mothers were selected through an application process in early September. They will receive various necessary baby items such as diapers, strollers, wipes, bottles, clothing, food and gift cards.

Sharla Viltz said the event aligns with the five programmatic thrusts of TLOD: community engagement, enhancing the status of women, partnerships, March of Dimes and literacy.

“We hope this project is a blessing to the mothers and an awareness that someone cares,” she said. “They’ll leave with tangible gifts and a good feeling.”

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the West Side Development Center, 601 W Rev. Dr. Ransom Howard St.

Members of TLOD and TTA want to thank their sponsors and donors including BCuz.org, E.L.I.T.E. Houston, God 1st Store, God 1st Community Outreach Program, Strong Towers Ministries and The Viltz/Smith Family Organization.

For more information contact TLOD Port Arthur Chapter at portarthurtlod@gmail.com or visit their social media pages.