MANSFIELD - On Sept. 9, Richland Source was host to hundreds of local families at the first-ever Community Baby Shower.
The event was created by reporter Brittany Schock with the support of the entire Richland Source staff and Richland County community as a way to bring local resources for healthcare and education together with mothers and families who need it most.
Here, the tangible impact of the Community Baby Shower is broken down by the number:
• $10,000 - Total grant funding awarded to Richland Source
At the beginning of 2017, the Solutions Journalism Network contacted Richland Source looking to award the organization with grant funding towards an infant mortality solutions journalism project penned by Schock. A total of $5,000 from that grant funding was spent on the Community Baby Shower.
• 7 - Months spent planning the Community Baby Shower
The idea of throwing a baby shower for all expecting mothers and families in Richland County was first proposed in April of 2017. The Richland Source editorial and sales teams met first on a monthly, then a weekly basis to plan the event that was held on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Source's 40 W. Fourth Street office.
• $7,000 - Total money raised from the community
Thanks to generous financial and in-kind donations from more than a dozen local businesses and various community members, Richland Source was able to purchase small items to stuff in gift bags and larger raffle prizes to give away the day of the shower.
• 300 - Number of gift bags created for expectant families
Every family was given a punch card when they arrived at the Community Baby Shower, and visiting one of the 18 community vendors present would earn a punch. Once the punch card was completed, families would leave with a gift bag full of baby items that were either donated from the community or purchased at the Ontario Target. Yeah, we broke their registers.
• 182 - Number of registered families who attended the Community Baby Shower
Mind you, this only counts the number of individual people who were registered the day of the shower. Overall, there was an estimated 500 people who officially attended the Community Baby Shower throughout the entire event. By 9 a.m. on Sept. 9 - an hour before the event officially began - there was a line stretching around the block on Fourth Street.
• 94 - Number of mothers who used the Listening Post
Richland Source partnered with the Renaissance Theatre to create a Listening Post, an independent recording device used to gather information on motherhood based on advice one would give a new or expecting parent, or any fears or anxiety one might have as a brand-new parent.
• 83% - Likelihood of baby shower attendees to recommend the event to a friend or colleague
Based on a survey Richland Source distributed via email and Facebook to attendees of the Community Baby Shower, 83 percent of a total of 43 respondents were likely to recommend the event to someone they knew.
• 46% - Number of respondents who characterized the Community Baby Shower event as "very organized."
A majority of respondents also said the staff working the day of the Community Baby Shower were "extremely helpful," said the length of the event was "about right," and said the top three subjects they learned the most about were home visits, baby boxes, and access to child care.
• 100 - Number of baby boxes distributed the day of the Community Baby Shower
One of the educational stations at the Community Baby Shower gave expecting families the opportunity complete online education and receive a baby box that day. Baby boxes are a safe sleep alternative for infants, with the goal of reducing sleep-related infant deaths.
• 81 - Average number of fun had at the Community Baby Shower
On a scale of 1-100, the average number of respondents characterized the Community Baby Shower as 81 percent fun. On a scale of 1-100, respondents rated how much they learned at 78 percent.
• 50% - Number of vendors who characterized the Community Baby Shower as "the best ever"
Of a total of 14 vendors who responded to a survey sent by Richland Source, 50 percent said that compared to similar events, the Community Baby Shower was "the best ever."
• 92 - Percentage of meaningful connections made
Thirteen vendors, or 92 percent of vendor respondents said they were able to make meaningful connections with potential clients, and on a scale of 1-100 rated the shower's effectiveness at reaching their target audience at 78 and the impact the shower made on attendees at 88.
• Final thoughts from vendors and attendees:
"From one new mom to another this is something all new moms should experience. I am so very thankful for that baby shower. Please keep it going. The help and information was a blessing! THANK YOU!"
"Other than a bigger space I think it was fantastic. I learned a lot and got to take home so many things from information to read about to gifts. Thank you all once again and I hope you do this again in the future. I know mommies would appreciate it a lot."
"Your event allowed us to reach pregnant women in our community and link them to resources that will positively impact their health and the health of their baby. Thank you!"
"The event was needed in Richland County. It shows ownership to our community and our new families. I would like to have the event in a larger facility and offer even more vendors. It was the opening of great potential for the community and the vendors."