Parents-to-be Nicole Richie and Joel Madden gave dozens of expectant mothers in need a day to remember when they threw a surprise baby shower for them Monday afternoon.
The couple, whose first child is due in January, hosted the Dec. 3 gathering at the Los Angeles Free Clinic as part of the official launch for their Richie-Madden Children’s Foundation. Founded in honor of the rapidly approaching birth of their baby, the foundation will aim to present opportunities to children across the globe through special events and entertainment.
To get things started, the couple, along with BabyCenter, donated over $150,000 in new products — including cribs, mattresses, strollers, blankets, bottles, high chairs, diapers, organic baby products and even socks in a “Mom-to-Be” kit. The thrilled recipients were expecting nothing more than regular prenatal care for the day.
“The looks on their faces were priceless,” Nicole said on the grounds of the Hollywood Clinic. “Some of them didn’t even believe us — they thought that we were joking! It’s really, really amazing. And they’re fantastic.”
“Everything that’s going to be in our nursery is going to be in their nursery,” Joel, 28, added. “It’s pretty great.”
Wearing flip-flops and bearing a very ripe stomach under her gray summer dress, Nicole also took some time out to talk about her and Joel’s latest philanthropic efforts. While based in their hometown of Los Angeles, the couple is hoping the foundation’s efforts will be felt internationally.
“Joel and I travel a lot. We traveled a lot, even when I was pregnant. We went to Asia and Australia, and our hope is to improve the lives of people all over the world,” the 26-year-old said. “It starts here, and the Los Angeles Free Clinic is a perfect place to start. They are a really amazing clinic.”
And with few of her peers having made the transition to motherhood, Nicole is hoping the foundation’s work will also give her the opportunity to bond with other mothers. “It’s not just us giving to them. They’ve got something that they can give me as well,” she said. “And that’s just a woman talking to another woman about pregnancy, about being a new mom. That’s not something that I can give them; (but) they can give it to me. I’m really looking forward to developing personal relationships with the mothers here. It feels really good to know that you have someone to talk to and that you have someone to lean on.
“We named the foundation the Richie-Madden Foundation because it’s not just Joel and I that want to help. We each have families and our families are very close. This is a family foundation. It’s not a couple’s foundation. Our whole family is involved — his brother, Benji, he has another brother and he has a sister my age who’s pregnant and is expecting any day now. And I have a younger brother and a younger sister. And I think that it’s important for me to be a good role model to them and show them how important it is to share and give back and to lend a helping hand.”
The Good Charlotte rocker kept a protective arm around his fiancée, Nicole, as he gushed about impending fatherhood and how "exciting" it is that their child will grow up in a loving environment created by both of their families.
“We’re lucky that we have families that like each other, that all get along, that all talk to each other," Joel said. "It’s very real. Our families, they really do like each other, they really do care about each other. We’re just trying to do our part, but also to start our child’s life off right, and to have the right priorities and the right frame of mind for the next 20 years of our lives.”
The couple also advised future announcements regarding their foundation can be found at the organization’s Web site.