I had my first baby when I was 34 years old, and even at that age, I was in no way prepared for the changes it brought to my life.

Although most of the changes were good, I had no idea how much the emotions, lack of sleep and hormones effect your daily life. I felt like a totally different person. I was crying for no reason. I felt constantly overwhelmed and worried that maybe I just wasn't meant to be a mom because all the warm and fuzzy feelings weren't there right away.

I quickly learned postpartum depression is a very real and scary thing that you cannot control. I also know there is no way I would have recognized the changes in me or made it through the first few months without the constant support of my parents, my husband, and my friends who were going through it too.

I can only imagine how hard it must be to be a mom with no support system. It can only be 10 times harder to do it as teenager. Thankfully there are organizations like Easterseals, who support young moms and dads through the Teen Family Support program. They offer a doula, a one-on-one support worker, screenings and plenty of group activities for parents up to age 21.

And, Wheels by RT is doing something special to make sure these young families and parents-to-be have a little brighter holiday season. They're hosting a toy and gift drive and will present the donations to the Teen Family Support participants at a special private party with help from other businesses such as Pepper Creek Greenhouse and Gifts, Green Acres Lawn Care and Landscaping Group, Inc., Christmas Decor, SweetDreams Bakery and Berg Industries, Inc.

Easterseals Teen Family Support

YOU can help by dropping off toys, clothes and supplies for newborns and toddlers or money for gifts for the moms to Wheels by RT, 7261 Harrison Ave., Rockford, through Dec. 21.

They also have the mothers' wish lists so if you would want to adopt a family, please contact Brooke at 815-332-2122 or brooke@wheelsbyrt.com for more information!

This is one of three community service projects Wheels by RT is hosting in celebration of their 30th anniversary coming up in January. They recently collected 150 coats for Just Breath 815 and will announce another project with another local nonprofit when this one's finished.

Donations quickly piled up for Wheels by RT's coat drive for Just Breathe 815. (Wheels by RT via Facebook)

I love seeing a long-time local business demonstrate its loyalty to the community this way, and if you're looking for a way to give back, too, I hope you'll consider dropping some donations off at Wheels by RT or adopting a whole family. Often, the joy of giving to others is a blessing itself.