ARLINGTON, VA (July 12, 2023) – Early childhood nutrition leader Gerber has officially announced the winner of the 13th annual Photo Search and the 2023 Gerber Baby. Madison “Maddie” Mendoza, along with her remarkable parents, captured the attention of the judges with a standout throwback submission and a story full of love and resilience.
At almost 10 months old and residing in Colorado, Maddie enjoys her baby music classes, thrives in her swim lessons, loves hiking with her parents, and fearlessly explores new foods. Just like her mom, Maddie came into this world with a full head of hair, a captivating expression, and the most joyful attitude. Together as a family, they enjoy the outdoors, photography, trying different foods and restaurants, and interacting with animals. As part of her tenure as the 2023 Gerber Baby, Maddie will work with Gerber to help the next generation of babies grow and thrive.
“Being a rainbow baby, Maddie has brought us immeasurable joy with every milestone, snuggle, and moment spent with her enriching our lives and making every day more meaningful and beautiful,” said Crystal Mendoza, Maddie’s mom. “We look forward to witnessing her grow into a kind, compassionate, strong, independent, and worldly individual as we hope to be stationed overseas again to teach Maddie about all the different parts of the world.”
Maddie’s parents, who have been together for an incredible 22 years, have a heartwarming love story. From their days as high school sweethearts to enduring a long-distance relationship for 9 years, their bond has only grown stronger. As a U.S. Air Force Academy grad, Dad Jun is now a Lieutenant Colonel physician in the Air Force and has been serving the United States for 16 years. Crystal, Maddie’s mom, works on patients’ smiles as a dentist. Both parents are from first-generation families from the Philippines, with both of Maddie’s grandfathers having served in the U.S. Navy and coming to America with very little. Their journeys are a testament to resilience and love.
“Gerber has always believed in the magic of babies, and Maddie’s story, filled with love, resilience, and adventure, embodies the spirit of generations of Gerber babies,” said Tarun Malkani, Gerber President & CEO. “The throwback submission of Maddie and her mom brought a smile to the judges’ faces and perfectly captured the spirit of this year’s program. We’re excited to partner with Maddie and her family throughout the next year to highlight the full-circle journey from baby to parent.”
Launched more than a decade ago, Photo Search was inspired by countless photos sent by parents who see their little one in Gerber’s iconic baby logo. This year’s Photo Search winner will serve as the 2023 Gerber Baby and will be featured on Gerber’s social media channels and marketing campaigns throughout the year. Additionally, Maddie and her family were awarded a $25,000 cash prize, free Gerber products for up to one year, a new wardrobe provided by Gerber Childrenswear, as well as surprise perks from our partners. Gerber will also match Maddie’s cash prize with a donation to support March of Dimes’ maternal and infant health programs.
“With Gerber’s continued support of March of Dimes’ maternal and infant health programs, together, we can make a lasting impact on maternal and infant health, ensuring that every baby has the best start in life,” said Kelly Ernst, SVP, Chief Revenue & Impact Officer. “We’re proud to be part of Photo Search again and join Gerber in congratulating Maddie and her family!”