YUCCA VALLEY — The Yucca Valley Elks Lodge celebrated 10 mothers-to-be from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Wednesday at the annual Military Family Baby Shower.
The event has been going on for about five years, said Past Exalted Ruler Nancy Simendich, and is done with the help of the Armed Services YMCA aboard the combat center. Staff and volunteers at the ASYMCA help choose families to be showered and the Yucca Valley Elks gather donations of diapers, pack-and-plays, Diaper Genies and more.
“The event is sponsored through a grant from the National Elks Foundation,” Simendich said.
“Different chapters put on events to help groups in their community. We’re a military town so that’s what we choose to use it on.”
The Elks Lodge also received donations from local members and the Indio Elks Lodge.
This year the chosen families were Harold and Lauren Bechtle, Juan and Kristen Hernandez, Kieth and Gabriella Kranch, Joseph and Anastasia Dombroski, Kortney Oaks, Abigail Holmes, Sierra Davis, Madison O’Toole, Aaliyah Lewis and Joseph and Korena Hammond.
“We’re glad that we get to participate in this,” said Joseph Hammond.
He and his wife are new to MCAGCC and they’ve been trying to get involved by going to some of the on-base ASYMCA events, which is how they got invited to the shower.
Anastasia Dombroski and her husband, Joseph, also said they were excited when they learned about the event.
“This is our first child,” she said. “We’ve been in the desert for about three years but we don’t have a lot of family nearby.”
Simendich said the event is one of her favorite to participate in because she gets to talk to the military families, many of whom are across the country from their friends and families.
“A lot of these young moms are first-time mothers. Over half of them are also flying solo at this event because their partners are deployed or in the field,” she said. “A lot of them won’t have the opportunity to have their own baby showers.”