Jefferson Award winner helps struggling families of newborns - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Jefferson Award winner helps struggling families of newborns

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SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) --  Having a baby is an exciting time and there's a woman from Sun Prairie who believes that nothing should stand in the way of that joy.

33 years ago, Judy Scheidegger joined a small group of women who saw a lot of Madison-area families struggling to provide for their new babies.

So the group started the Pregnancy Helpline as a phone bank around a kitchen table.

Now, the helpline serves hundreds of families every year.

"We are able to help families find things like adoption support, we help them find lawyers to help with immigration, we help them get signed up with WIC," says Executive Director Alissa Hirscher.

The Pregnancy Helpline also provides free items, like clothing and diapers , at its sharing center, and Pack 'n Plays to make sure babies have a safe place to sleep.

"People are struggling. Pregnancy Helpline offers so much to these families and I get goosebumps because they're so grateful," says Judy.

She's worn a lot of different hats over the years.

"It's very personal to me. I kind of feel like i grew up with it a little bit."

Now Judy's in charge of the Baby Care Package program.

She collects donations of new items for "welcome baby" baskets to deliver to the families.

They're filled with new clothes, blankets, diapers, pacifiers, toys and more.

Judy says, "Just because maybe you're a little down on your luck or experiencing some rough times, there's no reason these babies can't' be celebrated."

Judy has also inspired many other volunteers to join the organization.

"It's just really special that she stayed with us through it all," says Alissa.

But Judy says she wouldn't have been able to do it without the support of her family.

"I've been given so much and been blessed with so much that, ya know, it's like, you hate to say 'give back' because it's kind of cliche, but you have to. It's what we need to do for each other."

Judy's decades of giving back is what makes her our Jefferson Award winner for February.

For more on the services the Pregnancy Helpline offers, click here. 

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