By Susan Keresky

The Jewish War Veterans Post 619 will host a baby shower to benefit new moms who are United States veterans at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Sun Lakes Country Club. The community is invited to attend the free baby shower and bring a gift for a new mom. 

Kathleen Laurier, a Navy veteran, and her sister, Barbara Klinedinst, volunteers and creators of the VA Maternity Outreach for Moms (MOMS) program at the Phoenix VA, will speak at the event. 

When Laurier and Klinedinst first implemented MOMS at the Phoenix VA, they realized that these gifts were often the only items the new moms had for themselves and their newborns. The gifting program has been so successful that it has spread to other states including Puerto Rico. The two women also created a program to follow female veterans throughout their pregnancy and after delivery.  This tracking program is now a national VA requirement. 

JWV invites the community to attend the baby shower. Refreshments will be served including coffee, bagels and pastries. Veteran moms will not attend the event.  Gifts will be given to the speakers for use in the MOMS gifting program.

All gifts must be new and unwrapped. Suggested items for baby gifts include baby clothes up to 12 months; baby care items such as thermometers, hairbrushes and nail clippers; disposable diapers; bath towels and bathing supplies; bottles and bottle brushes; blankets and children’s books. Gifts for moms (also new) can include shampoo, conditioner, lotion, combs and brushes, flip flops, slipper socks, nursing supplies, candles and bath poofs.

JWV Post 619 members participate in philanthropic activities to help Jewish and non-Jewish veterans in Arizona. Members do not need to be veterans or Jewish. The Post donates an average $34,000 per year to help local Arizona veterans through a variety of programs.

During the past 25 years, JWV Post 619 has held parties at the US Veterans Home and VA Hospital, served refreshments at VA clinics, supported Fisher House in Tucson, refurbished rooms at the Arizona State Veteran Home, and sold poppies at supermarkets to support injured and homeless vets. They’ve also supported veterans who’ve returned from the Middle East with significant problems and purchased a van and bicycles to assist veterans with transportation to the VA Hospital.

Post membership is open to veterans and nonveterans alike. Members represent a wide range of religious affiliations. Support is provided to Arizona veterans of all religions and beliefs. The Post meets the third Sunday of every month at 9:30 a.m. in the Mirror Room of the Sun Lakes Country Club, 25425 N. Sun Lakes Blvd, Chandler.  Meetings feature speakers focused on supporting veterans. For membership information, contact Commander Robert Brooks at (480) 588-1827 or by email.