The Detroit Area Diaper Bank's Blog

Cleanliness is next to… what now?

April 23, 2012
2 Comments

As I got ready to check out from a quick, basic stop at the grocery store, it struck me how many items in my cart I wouldn’t be able to purchase if I only had food stamps to pay with, like so many of our neediest neighbors:

  • I couldn’t buy the tinfoil I use to cook my family’s food
  • I couldn’t buy the plastic wrap to store leftovers in the fridge
  • I couldn’t buy ziploc bags to send my kids’ snacks into school

…and various other sundries that help me run our household. But what really struck me is how many cleanliness-related items I wouldn’t have in my cart:

  • I couldn’t buy detergent to clean my children’s clothes
  • I couldn’t buy soap or shampoo to keep my children clean
  • I couldn’t buy cleaning supplies to keep our home clean
  • I couldn’t buy tissues for my middle son who goes through them like crazy with his spring allergies (much less allergy medicine to give him some relief)
  • I couldn’t buy toilet paper
  • I couldn’t buy feminine hygiene products
  • I couldn’t buy deodorant or powder
  • I couldn’t buy toothpaste or a toothbrush
  • and if I had a young child, a family member with a disability or an elderly family member with incontinence issues, I couldn’t buy DIAPERS to keep them clean and comfortable.

Yes, I would still have food in my cart and I would be able to feed my kids that night, thank goodness. But it’s important to remember that just because a family can shop at a grocery store with the help of food stamps doesn’t mean they can get everything they need.

As a Diaper Bank, we focus on diapers as a basic hygiene need and one that is not paid for or provided by any federal assistance program, not WIC, Food Stamps or Medicare. But there’s no ignoring the fact that NO hygiene needs are covered by these assistance programs, and it’s a larger conversation that needs to be had.

We expect kids to show up clean and healthy for school and perform as well as other kids, regardless of what they’re dealing with at home. We tell parents to go make a good impression in that interview and get that job. But when people don’t have access to basic hygiene items at home to keep them clean and healthy, they can’t compete on an even playing field. They don’t feel good, they don’t look good, they may not even smell good and it DOES affect them – their self-worth is diminished, they are more self-conscious, they feel shame and embarrassment. It will affect their performance at school and at work – if they make it to/through that interview. Do we think a kid that has to use fast-food napkins at home for toilet paper DOESN’T know he’s different?

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We know SNAP (food stamps) is a program under the Department of Agriculture. We get that the likelihood of food stamps ever being stretched to cover non-food items is zip to nil under the USDA. But with technology today, how is it not possible to make an additional subsidy (through the Department of Health and Human Services?) available to families using food stamps to purchase basic hygiene supplies? Barcode technology should make it possible to limit what can be bought to hygiene basics. Hyperbolic howls about “entitlements!” are sure to rise, but a realistic conversation has to be had about what people NEED to get by in America – to get that job, to feel confident at school, to succeed and be independent – besides just food, clothing and housing.

As long as the gaping hole in the safety net exists that doesn’t allow struggling families to have access to basic hygiene items – soap, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and yes, DIAPERS – things needed to compete, to be independent, to “fit in” and “be normal” by today’s social mores, those families will remain at a major disadvantage in society, and left further behind.

We need to do more. It’s easier said than done, I know, but we need to start acknowledging that a very basic need of people is to be CLEAN – to retain their dignity and self-confidence and to know they’re keeping their kids clean and healthy, just as much as they need food on the table, if they’re expected to perform equally and independently in this country.


Today, we are 3!

April 12, 2012
2 Comments

        


Today is our 3-year Anniversary!


Since launching on April 12, 2009, the Detroit Area Diaper Bank has distributed more than 1.2 million diapers and incontinence supplies for our neediest neighbors through partner nonprofit and state agencies.

We could not have done this without all of our donors and supporters, so we want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone who has embraced our community Diaper Bank and helped us grow so quickly. Together, we really are making a difference with diapers across Metro Detroit!



We have so many donors and supporters to thank, we’re afraid of leaving someone out — so let us first just say THANK YOU to all of the individual donors — those who donated money as well as those who donated diapers — every single donation makes a HUGE difference for us, so THANK YOU for supporting the Detroit Area Diaper Bank!

Another big THANK YOU to everyone who ran and/or participated in a diaper drive or fundraiser or recognized the Diaper Bank with a grant or award.

And our deepest thanks to all of the local businesses and community organizations that are supporting us and helping us grow in Southeast Michigan. We’re so grateful to have so many people taking an interest in and believing in our mission, we really, truly couldn’t do this without every bit of the support and encourgement we’ve received. THANK YOU.


It’s been a while since our last newsletter, so here’s a re-cap of the 1st quarter of 2012:

  • Holidays in Florida produced a picture of Walt Disney sporting a DADB hat
  • We were thrilled to welcome long-time volunteer Bruce Will into a more formal role with the Diaper Bank
  • The Diaper Bank’s “Loose Change For A Diaper Change” fundraising drive kicked off Feb 15th and runs through May 15th
  • Our Facebook page got the Timeline makeover and DADB made Timeline Cover Photos available
  • In response to questions of how we distribute diapers, we made a “day in the life” video
  • We learned that the Diaper Bank is receiving a $1,000 grant from the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency as part of its Community Funding Initiatives Program
  • We received another donation of 70,000 Huggies diapers through NDBN
  • We’re extremely fortunate that many great community organizations and businesses held diaper drives to support DADB – the diaper drive at Ford Motor Company during their Accelerated Action Days produced a great front-page article in the Observer
  • Between January 1st and March 31st, the Detroit Area Diaper Bank distributed 91,122 diapers and incontinence supplies to organizations serving our neighbors in need in Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, Macomb, and Monroe Counties. This doesn’t include the Huggies/NDBN donation of 70,400 diapers — counting those, we distributed a whopping 161,522 diapers to 38 nonprofit and state agency partners in Q1 of 2012.

Please be sure to visit our website and join our Facebook page to find out what’s new and happening with the Diaper Bank!

As you start to plan next year’s activities for your community organization, club, school, office, or place of worship, please keep the Diaper Bank in mind as your benefitting charity — we would truly appreciate the support!

And it’s never too early to start thinking about and planning for our next big Fall Diaper Drive, too — from August 1st through Thanksgiving, we’ll need to have as many diaper drives and fundraisers happen as possible to meet our challenging goal. We’ve not only met, but exceeded, each of the last three years’ goals, and we’ll need your help to do it again this year!


Other ways you can help:

Make a donation! Only have a few dollars to spare? Every single dollar helps, so to make it easy, you can Set it and Forget it!

Run a Diaper Drive!

Have extra diapers that have been outgrown or aren’t needed any more? Any size, any brand, baby through adult, we take them all. We accept open packages as well as new packages – someone will be SO grateful to get your leftovers! Please see our list of diaper dropoff locations (and we’ll come pick up if none are convenient to you!).

Click through GoodSearch and GoodShop to make your online searches and dollars do double-duty – or download our custom toolbar and make it a seamless part of your online environment!

If you’re a Kroger shopper in Michigan or Ohio, register your Kroger card through Community Rewards and select DADB as the charity you support, we’ll benefit from your everyday shopping!


THANK YOU FOR 3 INCREDIBLE YEARS!

We are looking forward to many, many more!



About author

The Detroit Area Diaper Bank was a 501c3 charity that provided diapers to nonprofit organizations in Southeast Michigan from 2009-2014. No federal assistance programs pay for or provide diapers, not WIC, Food Stamps or Medicare. Diapers are a huge hole in the "safety net" for our youngest and oldest neighbors in need. Please continue to donate and make a difference with diapers in Metro Detroit!

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