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COLUMBIA - Some mid-Missouri veterans and their families walked away from the Truman VA with gift boxes filled with infant care items on Friday.

"We want veterans who come to the VA to not only come here for visits but also know we are a support system for them," Women's Veteran Program Manager Cindy Stivers said.

Operation Baby Shower is one of many events happening across the country to celebrate Mother's Day and veterans who are new parents. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, women make up 10 percent of the veteran population in the United States. 

Leon Stevenson III is a veteran. He and his girlfriend just had a baby back in April. 

"Veterans are parents too, whether they are just coming home or they've been home for years," Stevenson said. "We all go through the same things and that's parenthood."

Each gift box, valued at around $50, came with a diaper bag, diapers, and products parents can use to groom infants.

Stivers said a priority of event is to make sure veterans know the VA is a resource and to support them in their journey.

"We want people to walk away feeling joyous," Stivers said. "Some times the might not have all the answers but we want to connect them to help."

The Fort Leonard Wood community-based outpatient clinic also held a Operation Baby Shower event in Waynesville, MO.

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