Sometimes the New Year really brings THE NEW.
A surprising development came up for my family this new year – we’re moving to Mexico City! While not something we saw coming, we’re excited for the opportunity.
So what does this mean for the Diaper Bank?
As soon as the word came down from my husband’s company that the Mexico move was definitely happening, I started giving thought to how the work I’ve been doing can continue, how our nonprofit partners can continue bringing in diapers for the families they work with, and how they can continue beating the drum about diaper need across Metro Detroit. One thing DADB has proven over the last almost-five years is that when the diaper issue is raised, made a focus, and explained – especially specifying that there is NO support for diapers from WIC, Food Stamps or Medicare — and then you ask the community to help, MANY respond. While “diapers” sat on nonprofit organizations’ wish lists across Metro Detroit for years and years, there hadn’t been concerted effort to tell people WHY diapers are such a big need and how they’re a chronically unmet basic need for our youngest and oldest neighbors. When informed about the issue, most people “get it” – not all, but a lot do. And the incredible support and donor base we’ve grown since 2009 is evidence of that. I have been continually blown away by the response from our community and I want to give our donors and supporters places they can go to continue giving in this unique and much-needed way after I’ve gone.
So I’ve been working with our nonprofit partners to brand and engage their own diaper pantries/banks so we can connect community organizations and donors directly to them — we’re essentially “de-centralizing” the Detroit Area Diaper Bank and moving the focus back to the nonprofits themselves. My hope is that the nonprofits can continue highlighting the need and capitalizing on the momentum DADB’s created. Just as they work to get people on their feet and independent with information, resources and support, we are providing them with all of the information and tools that have worked for us and encouraging them to take ownership over this issue, become independent and able to bring diapers in themselves, and continue educating and advocating around the community about diaper need. I have certainly learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work since DADB launched in April 2009 and I think a lot of our lessons, success and momentum can be transitioned to our partner organizations. I will continue distributing the resources we have on hand and spend down what we have in the bank to buy diapers and continue supplying our partners over the next few months while helping them get their internal efforts up and running.
An example of one of our partners working hard to get their own pantry going is Hope Clinic, based in Washtenaw County and also serving Wayne County. Hope Clinic has been an active recipient partner of the Diaper Bank for years, knows how important diapers are to its clients, and is eager to get its own pantry up and running. I’ve already been able to connect two organizations in Washtenaw County that wanted to run diaper drives for DADB with them and they’re taking over one of our diaper donation drop-off locations.
This is our vision going forward – the next phase of addressing diaper need in Metro Detroit and hopefully the legacy of the Detroit Area Diaper Bank – donors and organizations that care about diaper need connecting directly to nonprofits, and nonprofits that have set themselves up to receive and attract ongoing donations and are connecting with and being found by donors.
Many of our nonprofit partners are still in the process of working through the information I’ve supplied and seeing what they can do internally — once they are ready to “go live”, I will transition our website, which I will keep up for at least a year or two, into a locator of diaper pantries and local nonprofits that need diapers, so keep an eye out for that and I will also share links through social media, our newsletter, and email. We have stopped accepting donations, but there’s still an accessible link to our Partner page on our website that will allow donors to connect with partner nonprofits until the more specific diaper pantry info is made available.
We still have work to do over the next few months as there are still diapers to distribute and partners working to get pantries set up, so you will still hear from DADB, but the message will be more about our partner nonprofits and their efforts and needs. There are also many, many, MANY thanks I need to bestow but I can’t even begin to think about that just yet, that will have to be its own post further down the road. But I do want to say a general and very heartfelt thank you to everyone who has believed, encouraged, and supported me along the way on the journey that has been the Detroit Area Diaper Bank, it would not still be here without the generous, compassionate embrace we’ve received from our amazing community. I’m counting on everyone to continue caring, engaging, talking, or shouting, if need be, about the diaper issue and working together to continue making a difference with diapers in Metro Detroit!
Thank you. Gracias. Now, back to work.