Just in time for Armed Forces Day on Saturday, the Women of Quail Creek have a plan to welcome the youngest patriots: They are throwing the 2017 Baby Shower for Military Families of the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard.
“This year we are serving 30 families with 30 babies. They are a prolific bunch,” said Pamela Rodgers, chairwoman of the shower staged by the organization, which includes 324 women from Green Valley.
For more than 10 years, the Women of Quail Creek have collected donations and raised funds through making and selling cookbooks and organizing bake sales, fashion shows and other events to support nonprofit organizations including Youth On Their Own, Genesis House Shelter in Green Valley and the American Cancer Society. It also supports Honor Flight of Southern Arizona and other military programs. This will be its fifth annual baby shower for military families.
“These military families give us so much and put their lives on the line for us, so this is the least we can do for them,” Rodgers said.
For families to qualify for the shower, at least one parent must be active military; this year, 10 of the mothers are serving.
“That is huge. They do double duty, really. Many people don’t realize that since Sept. 11, the National Guard deploys like the regular service, so there is a chance these moms are going to Afghanistan or wherever else they are needed. We also have three couples in which both the mom and dad are military, so when you think about it, a grandma or aunt or other family member will need to step in if both of them deploy,” Rodgers said.
The shower provides each expectant mother with a gift including toiletries and other items; a diaper bag loaded with essentials; a laundry basket filled with blankets, diapers, wipes, 10 each of onesies and outfits, a traveling changing pad and other items. Each family also receives a shopping-cart cover courtesy of Q & A Financial Group and a raffle prize such as a stroller, high chair, booster seat, walker, play gym, bouncy seat, baby monitor or other large baby item.
Additionally, parents can shop for free, gently used large and small baby items provided by the White Elephant Thrift Store in Green Valley. They also get a catered lunch featuring posting of colors by the Davis-Monthan Air Force Honor Guard and other special guests.
“The heartwarming thing is that you see the moms get teary-eyed and you expect that, but the dads end up crying as well. It looks just like Disneyland in there with all the gifts and balloons and decorations. It is amazing,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers said the shower provides important support for the families, many of whom are stationed far from family and friends. It also helps offset baby expenses for families on tight budgets.
“The average service man or woman makes $38,000 a year, and they are on the front lines. People are in the service because they want to be and they feel it is their duty, and we think it is our duty to help support them,” Rodgers said.