Volunteers Pay it Forward to Mesa grandmother devoted to helping newborns

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Marilyn Freeman loves playing the organ, but it's the Mesa grandmother's other hobby that's making a big difference in her community.

"It makes me feel great," said Freeman. "It warms a place in my heart."

Just about every room in Freeman's Mesa home has some type of fabric or box of yarn that she uses to making baby blankets, bibs, hats and quilts, that are then donated to new moms across the Valley.

For the past 20 years. Freeman and her fellow volunteers have been making care kits for newborn babies.

Their group, Arizona Needy Newborns, donates more than 2,000 items a month to hospitals and women's shelters across the Valley.

 "I'm hoping they realize someone cares, that they are not alone and that there is help available," said Freeman.

Needy Newborns volunteer Alyce Downer has seen how devoted Freeman is, often spending her own money on supplies while dealing with a debilitating illness like MS.

Downer reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to her friend, who always puts others first.

"I've watched the station and I've watched all the wonderful people and I kept saying Marilyn ought to be a recipient because she does it selflessly," said Freeman.

"She loves the babies and loves to serve"

A CBS 5 news crew followed along when Downer and some friends showed up to surprise Freeman.

 "You are such a caring person and you've done so much for babies in community," Downer said.

"You give of yourself constantly no matter what disability is to you, and you do this with n open heart and I just wanted to thank you. Here is $500 for you because you are such a loving, caring person."

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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