Annlouise Ferguson’s Ahwatukee

Volunteers showed up at Annlouise Ferguson’s Ahwatukee home beginning Nov. 20 to deliver Thanksgiving meals to 44 group foster homes in the Valley.

One mission accomplished, another in high gear.

For the Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee, the final quarter of the year is busy trying to make Thanksgiving and Christmas something special for kids who don’t see much special in their lives.

Those kids are mostly teens who live in foster group homes, kids who often are too old for many couples to consider them for adoption or even taking these children into their homes for more personalized foster care.

The first mission – delivering Thanksgiving meals to 44 group foster homes from San Tan Valley to Surprise – was run with all the precision of an award-winning marching band under co-chairs Annlouise Ferguson of Ahwatukee and Stacy Rasmussen of Queen Creek by the Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee and Boys Team Charity.

“Enough turkey and trimmings will be delivered this week to feed 616 kids and staff members at 44 foster group homes throughout the Valley,” Ferguson said as the deliveries got underway from her and Rasmussen’s homes. “Ahwatukee Kiwanis and Boys Team Charity are preparing food and arranging delivery because despite COVID-19 every child deserves a Thanksgiving.”

A variety of volunteers assisted in the deliveries, including members of the Horizon and Desert Vista key clubs. 

Boys Team Charity event chair Karen Snyder said that teenage boys belonging to her nonprofit prepared food items, packed boxes and loaded vehicles. 

“Many families dropped off more food than requested,” Ferguson said. “Huge coolers full of food went out to each group home with bags of shelf stable food and Thanksgiving themed napkins, plates and centerpieces. Texas Roadhouse donated 135 dozen baked rolls with honey cinnamon butter to the Valley wide effort.” 

Christ’s Church of the Valley and United Surgical Partners International also were among the donors of food. 

And now those “newfound volunteers and drivers have agreed to help with the Kiwanis Foster Teen Christmas,” Ferguson said. 

Kiwanis heads up a community effort to provide clothing, hygiene products and gift cards to older children who otherwise would not have a wrapped package under the tree to open on Christmas morning. 

“Kiwanis has long served the needs of the underprivileged members of the community, especially children,” Ferguson said. “We could not perform the outreach without the help of nonmembers and businesses in Ahwatukee, Chandler and Tempe. This Thanksgiving the Ahwatukee Kiwanis Club is grateful for the support the community gives us all year long.”

Kiwanian Andi Pettyjohn noted that this is the 10th year that The Kiwanis Club of Ahwatukee has headed up a community effort to provide Christmas gifts to youth in Foster Group Homes.  

“When we first started this project,” Pettyjohn said, “we asked several Department of Child Services employees ‘Who are the kids who need the most help?’ Without hesitation the answer was always teen boys. These boys living in group homes with 8-10 other kids don’t benefit from the many toy drives during the holidays. Teens appreciate new clothes so they’ll fit in at school.”

The Kiwanis Club needs people to do one of four things: Adopt one or more children to purchase gifts; Adopt one or more group homes to purchase gifts; buy needed items and drop them off or simply donate money at ahwatukeekiwanis.org or send a check payable to Ahwatukee Kiwanis to P.O. Box 50596, Phoenix, AZ 85076.

People can shop online on our Amazon Wish List and have items sent directly to one of our volunteers. The list is at amazon.com/.../custom/20L5IVIMKE7TJ/guest-view.

The following is a list of items that are requested to give to these boys: clothing in all men’s sizes, pajama/sports pants, gym/sport shorts, printed shirts, socks, boxer shorts, shoes. Stocking stuffers needed include $25 Wal-Mart or Target gifts cards, $10- $15 fast food gift cards, toiletry items.

Drop off locations: Ahwatukee Swim & Tennis, 4700 E. Warner Road; Dr. Euzarraga DDS, 4206 E. Chandler Blvd. #20; LivGenerations, 15815 S. 50th St.; Vision Community Management, 16625 S. Desert Foothills Pkwy.; MusicMaker Workshop, 3233 E. Chandler Blvd. The collection ends Dec. 15 and items should not be wrapped.

Information: andi@wttaz.com or 602-402-6267.  

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