Omni Family Health is helping new and expecting parents get a head start on parenthood.

The health care provider held a community baby shower for around 100 new and expecting parents on Friday. Besides the usual giveaways, games, food, music and other activities, representatives from various organizations were on hand to answer any questions the parents may have.

For the second-annual event, local California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rodriguez instructed parents on how and where to install car seats. Attendees also learned about the Women, Infant and Children program along with other resources that are available to them and their children.

“It’s really nice because it brings the community together and raises safety awareness for the new moms,” said Nancy Rodriguez, who gave birth to her son, Andre, on Wednesday. “Even though this is my fifth child, everything always changes, so it’s good to stay up to date on laws and safety.”

Kairia Martinez, who is 38 weeks pregnant with her first child, came to the event primarily to get more information about car seats.

“There were a lot of things I didn’t know, such as the best place to put a car seat,” she said. “People put them in different areas, but we were told it’s best to have it wherever the baby can be most easily reached in case of an emergency.”

Gift bags with items including pacifiers, thermometers, books and other items were given to each attendee before they left. Omni Health also raffled off gift baskets over the course of the event that included clothes, gift baskets, bassinets, diapers and more.

Community donations helped pay for most of the giveaways, according to Omni Health.

“The response has been overwhelming,” District Administrator Christina Leland said. “I have had moms cry because they were so touched that we were doing this and so thankful for all the items they received.”

One of the people who won a gift basket on Friday was Zoisha Hayes. However, the basket — and being around new and expecting parents — served as a bittersweet reminder of what she’s lost. Although she was supposed to have her first child in September, Hayes said she had a miscarriage and lost her baby at 22 weeks earlier this year.

However, Hayes didn’t want that to get in the way of experiencing a baby shower.

“I wanted to see what it was like, since I wasn’t able to have a baby shower,” she said. “I’m feeling ok, but it’s still hard.”

Hayes came with her boyfriend and the father of the baby, Demetric Burkes, who said he enjoyed the event.

“It’s been a nice experience because I’ve never been to a baby shower either,” he said. “I’m glad to be here and to support my girlfriend in this difficult time.”

And as for the gift basket Hayes won during the shower? She said she will be storing them in a safe place at home in the hopes that she will be able to have a baby in the near future.

Joseph Luiz can be reached at 661-395-7368. Follow him on Twitter: @JLuiz_TBC.

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