Donation Drive to Cover Babies’ Bare Necessities
One in three families struggle to afford diapers. Parents enrolled in assistance programs cannot purchase them under WIC or food stamps, which categorize them as personal hygiene products. With the average baby requiring 10 to 12 diapers a day – at a cost of $120 per month – many families are forced to make tough decisions between food and diapers. Those decisions in turn can impact child health, access to childcare (most facilities require a supply of clean, disposable diapers) and employment.
Tenleytown residents and neighbors can help families in need on Saturday, May 17 by making a donation of diapers and other baby care items to the Baby Pantry Drive at Whole Foods Market Tenley. The collection drive will take place between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Run by DC Diaper Bank, the Baby Pantry Program helps provide essentials to families in need across the District, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.
Corinne Cannon had been searching for a way to help mothers in need after the birth of her own son in October 2009. When she learned the startling statistics about the cost of and access to diapers, the idea for DC Diaper Bank was born. Founded in October 2010, on her son’s first birthday, DC Diaper Bank seeks to “strengthen families by providing a reliable and adequate supply of free diapers to families in need living in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.”
Over the past three and a half years, DC Diaper Bank has expanded rapidly. According to the organization’s website, it has donated more than 815,000 diapers – a number that grows by the moment, as visitors can see in real time on the diaper counter on the website’s homepage. On average, DC Diaper Bank provides “50,000 diapers to more than 1,500 families a month.”
Recently, DC Diaper Bank launched the Baby Pantry Program to collect and distribute donations of food and other essentials, including: unopened and unexpired formula; unopened and unexpired baby food jars and pouches; unopened baby shampoo, bubble bath, diaper cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other baby hygiene items; potty training seats; new toddler underwear; new bottles, nipples, and teethers; new and gently used board books; and new and gently used sleep sacks.
An Ambassador Among Us
As the organization has grown, DC Diaper Bank has partnered with community volunteers – diaper ambassadors – to help collect donations across the metro area.
When AU Park resident Marie Duellman met Cannon at a mothers club at the school their children both attended, she was immediately convinced of the importance of the organization’s mission. She signed up to be an ambassador in October 2013 and began holding diaper collection drives in February.
In addition to spreading the word about DC Diaper Bank on neighborhood listservs and encouraging community members to contribute, Duellman has partnered with local groups like Iona Senior Services – a partner she describes as “awesome” – to organize large donation collections. She’s currently working to establish a partnership with the Tenley-Friendship Library, as well.
However, Duellman may be best known for opening her home on Yuma Street to DC Diaper Bank. On her porch sits a bin for collecting donations, and she frequently invites residents of AU Park, Tenleytown and Friendship Heights to stop by her house and leave items for DC Diaper Bank to distribute. And neighbors have responded.
“[The] bin on my porch has gathered nursing supplies, baby monitors, diaper genies, board books, and thousands of diapers,” says Duellman.
She’s hoping the same spirit of generosity will help make the Baby Pantry Drive on May 17 a success.
On Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., DC Diaper Bank and Whole Foods Market Tenley will be collecting donations of baby care items to help fill the Baby Pantry. Residents can bring or purchase at the register:
- diapers of all sizes, including new packages or opened packages of diapers their babies have outgrown;
- baby wipes;
- unopened and unexpired formula;
- unopened and unexpired baby food jars and pouches;
- unopened baby shampoo, bubble bath, diaper cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other baby hygiene items;
- potty training seats;
- new toddler underwear;
- new bottles, nipples, and teethers;
- new and gently used board books; and/or
- new and gently used sleep sacks.
If residents are unable to visit Whole Foods on Saturday, they can also make donations at Duellman’s home at 4600 Yuma Street, NW. The bin on her porch always stands ready to collect items to help families with babies in need.