It appears there’s a chance – a chance – that I might have misjudged Nicole Richie’s ability to be a decent parent. I’m not saying I’m totally wrong, but it appears that, if nothing else, fiancé Joel Madden has been a good influence on her. When the two set up the Richie Madden Children’s Foundation, I assumed it was just to get some good PR, and detract from Nicole’s DUI and spending 84 minutes in jail while pregnant. A lot of celebs seem to talk about how they’re starting a charity, and then you never hear about it again. That’s what I assumed would happen here. Kind of like Paris Hilton’s peacekeeping mission to Africa that we’ve been hearing about for so long. But it appears that the Richie/Madden duo actually are trying to do some good with their charity – they handed out $200,000 worth of baby goods to 100 needy families through the Los Angeles Free Clinic.
The couple hosted a surprise baby shower Monday for 100 expectant and new moms at the Los Angeles Free Clinic in Hollywood, where they handed out more than $200,000 worth of gifts. “The looks on their faces were priceless,” Richie told reporters after the shower. “Some of them didn’t even believe us [when they saw the gifts]. They thought we were joking.”
The Richie Madden Children’s Foundation, Madden said, was an idea the couple had when they found out they were expecting. “We grew up in Los Angeles,” he said, “and we want our child to be a part of the community, and to know that there’s a responsibility to help the community.” And it’s a family affair. “We named it the Richie Madden Children’s Foundation because we each have families and our families are close, and our family is involved,” Richie said. By her side with his arm stroking her back during moments in the conference, Madden quipped, “We’re lucky that we have families that get along and love each other,” adding, “I think it’s great that our child will grow up as a part of that family.”
Amongst the goodies given to families in need were Baby Bjorn products, cribs, mattresses and toys from Fisher-Price. “Everything they got, we got,” Richie says, “so everything that will be in their nursery, will be in our nursery.”
People reported that for Nicole’s baby shower, guests were asked to bring gifts to donate to the charity instead of for the couple – though each guest did bring a book for the baby. I don’t want to sound naive, but I’m pretty impressed. There are few people less in need of baby supplies than celebrities. Nicole still got to have the fun of a shower (and I’m assuming the dumb games involving storks and diapers and such) but they actually managed to do something really great and useful for people in need. Hopefully this is a positive indication that Nicole is maturing and able to think about the needs of others.
Picture note by Celebitchy Nicole Richie is shown on 11/26/07 before having lunch with Paris and Nicky Hilton for publicity purposes.