CALDWELL, Idaho — Every other week, Treasure Valley families meet at the Caldwell Salvation Army for the Baby Haven program. It's one of the five local nonprofits benefiting from your generous donations to Idaho News 6's 16th annual Community Baby Shower.
Parents receive access to free baby essentials like diapers and wipes in exchange for participation in group activities.
"It feels like your working toward getting those diapers, you know," Caldwell mom of four Dezzerea Juniper said. "I think that really empowers the moms because some of us are stay-at-home moms and we don't have the experience of going out and working."
There are no income requirements for the program and truly anyone wanting to become a better parent is welcome.
"Being a mom is so hard, it takes every bit of energy you have, and you doubt yourself a lot," Major Stephanie Bridgeo said. "I think coming here and sharing with each other their hopes and their fears, and kind of seeing other people here in the same situation or realizing 'hey, I am doing it right!' is a really great thing for the moms to kind of get that extra encouragement and confidence that 'hey you can do this!'"
They touch on topics like immigration, child support, splitting custody, and building healthy boundaries in relationships. For Dezzerea, it was a class about domestic violence that opened her eyes and changed her life.
"I was in a relationship where all the abuse was mental," Juniper said.
Now divorced, she's focused on providing the best life possible for her four kids, and at the Baby Haven program everyone is welcome. While parents spend an hour or two in class, the program offers free child care for the rest of the family.
"They accept all of the kids that I have up there," Juniper said. "So I don't have to get day care for all my other children. I can bring all of them at once."
Major Bridgeo says classes have evolved through the pandemic, now offering education in-person and online for 37 local families.
In return for their participation, parents can shop the boutique and take home essentials like diapers, clothing, a stroller, and even items for mom.
"It's hard being a mom! So I think having some cute things for them is a good motivator to come to class," Bridgeo said.
Most moms graduate from the program when their little ones turn two but they still stay connected even years later.
"I've seen quite a lot of moms that were in the program when I first got here six years ago and I still know them today," Bridgeo said. " Just seeing how confident the moms are, how successful they are, they've gone on to go to school, to get jobs, to own businesses; it's just really encouraging that we can help people along their path to fulfill their dreams."
They're always blown away each year by the number of donations they get from the community and they can never receive too many diapers or wipes.
If you can make a donation, you do so this Community Baby Shower day on June 15th at your local Albertsons store. You can also text BABY to 345-345.