Kiwanis baby shower helps desperate moms | News

Over the past few years, the Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee’s baby shower for teen foster moms and moms-to-be has become a community effort, involving volunteers and donors ranging from high school students to senior citizens.

No matter their age, they share a common goal: helping desperate teens who have little to no hope of help, say Andi Pettyjohn and Annlouise Ferguson, two of the Kiwanians who help organize the donation drive and actual event.

Ferguson recalled that after one

shower, she visited the Phoenix Dream Center, a nonprofit that works with foster kids as a part of its mission to fight

human trafficking.

While a center worker helped Ferguson unload laundry baskets full of baby gear, Ferguson recalled, “He asked, ‘Why do you do this? These girls expect judgement, not generosity.’”

That’s why, Ferguson said, the baby shower has become a mission “about doing the unexpected.”

“Honestly, these girls have nothing and most have no family support,” she explained. “They come to the baby shower tentative and some fearful but they leave with a lighter attitude.”

Pettyjohn talks of a foster care case manager who phoned her after the baby shower and thanked her because after the baby shower a foster teen mom got excited and committed to her decision to keep her baby.

“Our volunteers, when requested, help the moms think about clothing seasonally appropriate for their baby as they grow,” Ferguson said.

“This gently used clothing and baby gear comes from the generous people in Ahwatukee. The moms often focus only on the present and have a difficult time thinking ahead. I think that’s a product of their maturity and the crisis lifestyle most have experienced growing up.”

For some teens, the mission touches on their personal lives, she added.

“When we called for volunteers,” Ferguson said, one student told her “‘that happened to someone I know. I want to give back.’”

That kind of response prompts Ferguson to declare, “The philanthropic future of Ahwatukee is rich.”

Among community volunteers who have donated numerous hours to organizing and conducting the baby shower are Melissa Marchetta, Stacy Rasmussen, Carl Tolleson, Ellie Webb, Horizon Honors Key Club, the staff at the Ahwatukee Event Center, Mountain View Lutheran Church, Primrose School, Vision Community Management.

Also devoting countless hours with Pettyjohn and Ferguson is the rest of the Ahwatukee Kiwanis Planning Team: Carrie Chipman, Linda Jochim, Debbie Sullivan and Margie Walton.

Pettyjohn said the volunteers all recognize the typical teen foster mom’s plight.

“A teen in foster care is alone herself and now she has or is expecting a baby that is not covered financially by the foster system because the baby is not a foster child,” she said.

“These young women are alone in their pregnancy and parenting experience without family and friends to support them. They can use our help to make it easier for them to ‘beat the odds’ in this hard life.”

Teen moms in foster care will be given a “baby shower experience” complete with refreshments and gifts for their babies. They are invited to “shop” for free from the gently used clothing and necessities for their babies.

Leftover donations will be given to other agencies that help moms in crisis. Foster teens who have recently aged out of foster care and foster parents who are fostering babies will also benefit from the donations.

There are multiple ways that people can help – including volunteering their time to help set up the shower on Sept. 29 and 30.

New baby clothing and necessities that are needed include disposable diapers, baby wipes, baby bottles and sippy cups, bibs, pacifiers, clothes for infants to size 4T, diaper backpacks and receiving blankets.

Items can be dropped off at the following locations: Ahwatukee Event Center, 4700 E. Warner Road; Mountain View Lutheran Church, 11002 S. 48th St.; Primrose, 3922 E. Chandler Blvd.; and Vision Community Management, 16625 S. Desert Foothills Pkwy.

The club also has a baby registry on a link at, which enable people to place an order for shipment to a Kiwanis volunteer. That directory is at

Monetary donations can be made on our Kiwanis website or mailed to Ahwatukee Kiwanis, PO Box 50596, Phx., AZ 85076

People who have questions can contact Annlouise at 480-221-1051 or [email protected].