Baby Noel receives a special baby shower

PHILADELHPHIA - December 29, 2011

The newborn found in a box last week in Strawberry Mansion, is still being monitored at St. Christopher's Hospital Thursday night.

But hospital staff says the baby girl, known as "Noel", is doing just fine and is expected to be released any day.

Noel will be released into the custody of DHS, and then turned over to a foster home.

A North Philadelphia woman, who wanted more for baby Noel, is counting her blessings and paying it forward in the infant's honor Thursday evening.

Keisha Browning was the recipient of good fortune last week when baby Noel was found in a box.

She was among hundreds who had their lay-away balances paid by a local Reverend at the Burlington Coat factory, and then she won a $250 school raffle contest.

That's when she decided to organize her community and throw a baby shower for little Noel.

They came from the neighborhood and across the city to the community room at the West Poplar Apartments in Fairmount on Wednesday.

Keisha Browning told her friend what she wanted to do and why.

"I just saw a baby in a box and thought that was a horrible thing," said Browning. "I don't think anyone should have that kind of welcome into the world."

"She was like, 'I got this idea. Let's do it.' And everyone was like, 'Okay, we're going to do it.' Everybody jumped in," said Zakiyyah Burch.

It didn't take long for the word to spread and dozens of people to volunteer.

They donated toys, supplies, and clothing. One lady knitted an adorable yellow blanket and sweater set.

Local bakers donated cakes. Among them, Brianna Ward's dad who made that says "I'm cute and special!"

"I helped him put the cake in a box and make the icing and put it together," said 8-year-old Brianna Ward.

John Berry volunteered to take photos of the event. Dorothy Matthews felt compelled to be there.

"I was a foster child for 20 years, and my foster mother raised 200 kids. So when I heard this story, it really touched my heart," said Matthews.

Catherine Tracy, who lives nearby, came with her daughter.

"I realized that I have all this stuff left from my kids that never got used," said Tracy. "It's three blocks away from my house. I have to do this."

And Lashana Smith, who is expecting her first baby any day, drove to the shower alone from Southwest Philadelphia.

"Being a mother that is getting ready to give birth, it was more than just about bringing pampers or wipes," said Smith. "I really wanted this baby to know her life is worth far more than the circumstances she was born into."

The unexpected support came from inside and outside of the immediate community; so many people were drawn to give and support baby Noel.

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