PHOENIX — The Phoenix VA hosted a special drive-thru baby shower today to honor and support veterans welcoming new babies into their families.
The baby shower provided the resources these women veterans needed the most as they begin their journey into parenthood.
40 new veteran moms supported
“He is six weeks old,” said Suzanne Tuanaki, one of about 40 new moms receiving special gifts at the drive-thru baby shower at the Phoenix VA Saturday.
“It’s a big help,” she said. “I thought we weren’t doing it this year with COVID, so they did it for my daughter and now doing it for him.”
Changes due to COVID-19 pandemic
The monthly baby shower has been going on for several years, but this year volunteers suggested changing it to a quarterly drive-thru to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.
“They moved those supplies into their garage and assemble the baby baskets that are based on the birth sex of the expected baby. Some of them are gender-neutral because the parents choose not to know,” said Kristen Nordquist, women veterans program manager.
Essential supplies gathered for each bundle of joy
Each mom-to-be receives $300 dollars in essential newborn supplies for their new bundle of joy.
“Baby bottles, we have diapers obviously,” she said. “Bath supplies, blankets, toys, nail clippers, the newborn hygiene kit... the moms also receive a pampering package that’s filled with supplies to make her feel special.”
Volunteers want to make a difference for moms-to-be
The special experience for moms like Suzanne is made possible through the VA’s Women Veterans Program.
“The VA helped with so much through the whole maternity care,” said Tuanaki. “The homemade blankets are always a nice little touch.”
The moms and babies program was started 12 years ago by one of the VA’s women veterans who wanted to make a difference for maternity patients.
“It’s very special and I’m thankful for the VA,” she said.