I love to volunteer. I love the feeling of helping out and doing my small part to make this world a better place.
A few weeks ago my friend Jen told me about this local organization called Happy Bottoms. They help give diapers to those who can not afford them. There are NO programs to help those in need get discounted diapers. They are a newer organization and just starting out but already doing so much good in the Kansas City area!! They were recently mentioned in the WALL STREET JOURNAL about a large donation they are getting from HUGGIES!!! (see article below)
I am proud to be helping with such a great organization helping out the Kansas City area!!
Free Diaper Push Gets National Boost
By MELANIE GRAYCE WEST
A free-diaper program that began in the living room of a Connecticut social worker is now going national, as demand surges in a stagnant economy.
The National Diaper Bank Network-a nonprofit launching Monday-has secured a commitment from a major diaper manufacturer to take a New Haven, Conn.-based diaper distribution service to groups that help needy families across the country. A dozen cities, from Philadelphia to Sacramento, will begin receiving free diapers this month from the network.
The network will serve as a “clearinghouse” for donated diapers, said its executive director, Joanne Goldblum, who started her own Connecticut diaper charity seven years ago. Currently, she said, getting free diapers to those who need them is a fragmented system, “something that, at this point, we’re only really able to do at a local level. And that’s very hard.”
If Ms. Goldblum’s idea spreads, it would upend the long-standing practice of distributing free diapers through food banks and pantries. Supporters of the current system said it makes sense to have one place for the needy to pick up both food and baby supplies.
“Food banks have been distributing diapers for more than 30 years,” said Maura Daly, a spokeswoman for Feeding America, a Chicago-based national hunger-relief organization with a network of more than 200 food banks. “One of the benefits of our distribution system is that most clients who need diapers also need other services.”
Ms. Goldblum also faces substantial logistical challenges surrounding storage and securing trucks for distributing diapers, issues the network is still working on.
The effort is playing out against the backdrop of a larger push in Washington to have diapers covered by federal programs. Two Democrats from Connecticut-Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro and Sen. Richard Blumenthal-have proposed legislation to have welfare programs cover the cost.
Demand for free diapers has soared, advocates said, as the number of Americans living below the federal poverty level has grown since the 2008 recession. Without clean diapers, say advocates, needy families are forced to wash and reuse diapers or go without. Often, day-care centers require a large supply of diapers and, without them, some families aren’t able to enroll children or pursue work.
The shortage of clean diapers is a problem Ms. Goldblum first noticed nearly a decade ago through her job as a social worker. The 47-year-old mother of three would often find herself purchasing diapers and giving them away to needy New Haven families.
She decided to start an informal diaper bank, pooling money and purchasing diapers at a discount from a big-box store. She then sorted them and distributed diapers from her living room.
In 2004, the bank became a formal charity and it now distributes some 2.6 million diapers annually. About 25% of those diapers are donated through diaper drives and the rest are purchased by the truckload.
“We have people who are too poor to give their kids what they need and I felt like I needed to do something to address that specifically,” said Ms.
With the national diaper bank, Ms. Goldblum hopes to publicize the lack of diapers, set a standard protocol for banks and make it easier to move bulk purchases and donations from corporations to nonprofits. Ms. Goldblum has served as a volunteer for the New Haven bank, but will be employed by the National Diaper Bank Network.
Huggies maker Kimberly-Clark Corp. is funding Monday’s launch of the network and providing 20 million diapers annually for three years. Huggies had long distributed diapers through Feeding America. A Huggies spokeswoman said the network would strengthen a diffuse distribution system. “Bringing the banks together for the first time streamlines things and helps create more of a sustainable diaper solution,” she said.
One agency that has signed on for the National Diaper Bank Network is Mount Arlington, N.J.-based Child & Family Resources. Its executive director, Rebekka Zydel, said she needs more diapers.
“The need is here, but there’s not enough supply,” she said.
But she also doesn’t yet have the infrastructure to distribute a lot of diapers, a widespread problem that the new national diaper network hopes to address. Ms. Zydel operates her diaper bank out of a small spare office.
When an agency needs diapers, a staff member wheels the diapers to the parking lot, loads them into a personal SUV and drives the diapers across town.
A large donation would mean that “we’d definitely need more administrative support, and we’d have to find funding to do that,” Ms. Zydel said. “We’re on a shoestring budget and most of it is volunteer. We would have to consider looking at partnering with our local food bank. They have the infrastructure.”
Write to Melanie Grayce West at firstname.lastname@example.org