For over two decades, a Valley woman has made it her mission to help newborn babies and their mothers during the holiday season.
Maggie Leach started "Christmas Babies" over 20 years ago when she was a new parent and money was tight.
"It started because my youngest child did not have a Christmas outfit for his first Christmas, which he could not have cared less about, but it mattered to me at the time," Leach said. "So, when I got a little bit more financially stable, we gathered Christmas items or baby sale items for about a year. And in December, my children and I took it to one of the local hospitals in a gift bag."
It was the beginning of a holiday tradition that would become so much more for Leach, her children and their friends.
"We started doing it every year and it grew a little bit and people found out," Leach said. "And the more people who found out, the more items arrived. It takes a village. There's a whole bunch of us."
Social media posts on the Christmas Babies Facebook page have also helped to build what has become an entire community now donating baby clothes, diapers, wipes, baby books and so much more year-round.
Leach collects all the items at her house and stores them until sorting day in early December.
"I'll have random people show up at my house or call me and say, 'Hey, I've got this box of things. Can you come get it?'" Leach said.
According to Leach, her extended group of Secret Santa helpers enjoy shopping to find adorable and tiny outfits for Christmas Babies year-round.
"It's kind of a thrill to find these things for $1.99 in January," Leach said. "I mean, who doesn't just love to shop for baby clothes?"
Every year in late December, her Christmas Babies group gathers to deliver gift bags loaded with goodies to the hospital.
"The nurses just have at it. And we've labeled everything. So, they know if it's a boy or girl and it's kind of a no-brainer for them," Leach said. "It's kind of a happy thing for everybody."
All of this is to surprise hundreds of Arizona moms who never see these items coming!
Christmas Babies is not a nonprofit organization, but Leach said it is an easy way to pay to pay it forward.
"Sometimes, I think we feel hamstrung. We don't know what to do. We would like to make a difference," Leach said. "We'd like to do something. It's hard to know how to begin. So, if bringing a little box of stuff over pushes that forward, you've done it. You've done it! You've accomplished something good for somebody."
To learn more about Christmas Babies, check out the group's Facebook page.
To donate, send an email to email@example.com.