PHOENIX (Surprise Squad) -- Sewing for Babies is a nonprofit organization in Arizona that makes blankets and clothes for premature infants in Valley hospitals. The Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad recently heard about this group and decided to surprise Joy, one of the founders of the organization. April Warnecke and the team told Joy they were doing a story for 3TV about unsung heroes in the community, which was true. But she had no idea what was in store for her.

“We feel like our blankets are made with love, and we can give them [with] love. That’s all we’re trying to do is give them some love and a pat on the back and try and help them,” Joy explained. “Premature clothing is unusual because you can’t always find it in a store. And if you can find it, you might find a premature outfit that’s $10. If the baby goes through four different outfits a day, that’s $40 a day for clothing. And most people just don’t have that kind of money.”

“How has your job and what you’re doing in this organization changed in the last year because of COVID and the way that our world has changed?” Warnecke asked.

“It’s made it a lot harder. People don’t realize it takes everybody to do this. I don’t do this alone.” Joy went on to explain that donations went down during the pandemic because most people didn’t have extra money to give away. And because Sewing for Babies is a nonprofit, they’re not allowed to sell any of their items.

To make things even tougher, Joy said the group needs to find a new place to store all the supplies and items they’ve already sewed. They’ve been kept in a garage belonging to one of their volunteers for years; now that person needs the space back. But like everything else, finding new storage will cost money that is in short supply.

“We told you we were here to do a story on people making a difference in our community, which we are,” Warnecke said. “But we’re actually part of the Valley Toyota Dealers, Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad. I know you watch Channel 3, so I know you know what that is.”

“I do,” Joy smiled.

“So we’d actually like to give you this,” Warnecke said as she handed Joy an envelope.

“Oh my gosh,” Joy gasped as she opened it and looked at the certificate inside. “Holy cow, $3000! We can buy maybe a storage shed and keep things clean and dry.”

“Well, thank you,” Warnecke smiled. “Thank you for all you do.”

“We’re happy to have Channel 3 as part of our team,” Joy said. “Thank you. This makes me want to give somebody a hug, but I can’t hug anybody.”

“Just a virtual hug,” Warnecke laughed before touching elbows with Joy.


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