Sheila Coonen from Connecting to Serve and Andi Pettyjohn decided to help foster youth this holiday season. Many churches and the Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee helped with collection boxes to aid in their efforts. With help from the Camelback Kiwanis Club, Friendship Village, Pecos Senior Center and other Ahwatukee Foothills residents the result was 47 troubled boys, ages 8 to 17, receiving a Christmas celebration.

The group hosted a pot luck dinner with Kiwanis members to wrap gifts. Donations continued to come in. More volunteers helped to wrap gifts the weekend before Christmas. The group then delivered the gifts secretly to six foster agencies so that they could put them under the Christmas tree. They made a visit to each of the six homes on Christmas Eve with candy, cookies, and other baked goods for the kids to share. Each boy received one pair of sweat/lounge pants, one T-shirt, one package of boxers, and one package of socks, an AMC gift card, and a Wal-Mart or Target gift card. Each boy also received some “stocking stuffers.” Some received slippers or fleece blankets and others an extra T-shirt.

Each group home received board games and DVDs, pillows, extra clothing, school supplies, back packs and duffel bags that were donated to the homes for distribution to the boys as needed. The homes will also receive bikes for the boys to share that were collected by Kiwanis members.

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