By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

As with most baby showers, invitations are sent and there's a baby-themed centerpiece, cake and games.

And the gifts guests brought were the usual fare -- diapers, clothes, baby wipes, oil and lotion.

But the guests at Mary's shower in the Holy Family Elementary School activity room Wednesday were a bit unusual.

Every year for more than 25 years, the elementary school students look forward to the event that provides baby items to those in need.

"We've done it for so many years. They know we bring gifts for Mary and babies," fourth-grade teacher Teresa Schrant said of the shower.

"I appreciate their generosity," paraprofessional Judy Flax said. "We've all had children, (but we've) not necessarily had everything we needed for children."

This year, the gifts go to Catholic Charities.

The event starts in the classroom where students share with one another the gifts they brought.

"I think they're as excited as opening their own gifts," said Karen Rohr, first-grade teacher and a member of the baby shower committee. "They enjoy it as much."

Then they bring their gifts to the activity room where they have cake and play a guessing game.

Students in the lower grades guess the number of colored marshmallows in a small jar, and older students guess the number of candy canes in a larger jar.

This year, something new has been added to the season of giving -- BFF, Blankets for Friends.

The idea to collect new and gently used blankets came from first-grader Alyssa Church, 6.

"I want to help the poor stay warm," Alyssa said.

She brought her idea to the class, and the class made posters to put on the collection boxes and walls around the school, first-grade teacher Ann Weber said.

Alyssa's goal is to collect 100 blankets to be donated to First Call for Help and Options: Domestic and Sexual Violence Services.

Fourth-grader Anna Stark brought a baby gift and a blanket.

"I want to give gifts to poor and a blanket," she said.