As we reach the mid-point of July, summer reminders are everywhere – it’s hot, the splash parks are crowded, vacations are what we’re prepping for or recovering from, and the kids are starting to get stir crazy.
But soon enough, “Back to School” ads will be all over the TV and radio, and that means the Detroit Area Diaper Bank‘s Annual Fall Diaper Drive will be launching!
This will be the Diaper Bank’s FIFTH Annual Fall Diaper Drive – it’s hard to believe time has flown by so fast since the first drive in 2009! The fall drive helps drive donations into the Diaper Bank so it can fulfill more partner agencies’ families’ needs and help through the holidays and start of the new year, when donations tend to slow down.
Keep an eye out for our launch announcement and details about the drive and events this fall, but it’s never too early to start planning how YOU can help make sure the Diaper Bank makes its big fall goal by Thanksgiving 2013. Can you, your family, your office/company, your community organization or place of worship run a diaper drive or fundraiser to support the Detroit Area Diaper Bank?
Please start making plans and spreading the word, the Diaper Bank can only succeed with the help of an engaged and supportive community. Our community has helped the Diaper Bank collect and distribute close to 1.7 million diapers and incontinence supplies to more than 60 nonprofits and state agencies serving our neediest neighbors across Southeast Michigan since 2009 – we need your help to continue making this very real difference with diapers across Metro Detroit!
Enjoy the rest of your summer and get excited for this year’s big Fall Drive!
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!
We also have to recognize our ace volunteers Bruce Will and Melva Parks who help us collect and maximize every diaper donated – Bruce coordinates donation pickups and Melva coordinates repackaging and getting open packages and loose diapers ready for distribution. They’re huge keys to our operational success and we can’t thank them enough for all of their time and dedication!
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 encouragement we’ve received. THANK YOU.
Since January 1st of this year, the Detroit Area Diaper Bank has already distributed 97,705 diapers and incontinence supplies to organizations serving our neighbors in need in Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, Macomb, and Monroe Counties, and will be distributing another 25-30,000 at our distribution next Friday. THANK YOU for helping us make this very real difference with diapers across Metro Detroit!
Please make a donation to help us continue helping our neighbors in need during our 5th year! And THANK YOU for all of your encouragement and support these past 4 years!
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!).
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!
A school social worker put an emergency call into one of our recipient partners, a local Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
A severely disabled 11-year-old boy is in their programs and his low-income parents are having trouble keeping him in a supply of adult-size Large diapers. Diapers are an ongoing and crushing expense for this family, this is a child that has never been out of diapers and will never potty train.
This is the gap a community Diaper Bank can help fill. Parents of a severely disabled child already have so much on their plate, keeping him clean with a healthy supply of diapers is an emotional and financial stressor we can try to help alleviate through our nonprofit partner. We were able to get a supply to our partner who got them to the social worker the next day.
Thank you for helping us make this very real difference with diapers.
Since 2009, Diaper Drives hosted by Canton Library have brought 113,153 diapers into the Diaper Bank for distribution to our neighbors in need across Metro Detroit!
This is what these past 4 years of our diaper drive partnership with CPL has looked like:
2009 (1st drive, drop off inside the library): 17,254 diapers
2010 (1st Stuff the Truck drive): 26,312 diapers
2011 (2nd Stuff the Truck drive): 30,813 diapers
2012 (3rd Stuff the Truck drive): 38,954 diapers
The drive has grown every year, and we have SO MANY people, organizations and companies to thank, starting with, of course, the fabulous Canton Public Library.
We’ll always be beyond grateful they “found” us on Twitter just months after we launched in spring 2009 and expressed interest in hosting a diaper drive for us. We literally built our first fall drive around them in 2009, having an overall goal of collecting “30,000 by Thanksgiving” and made the Library drive the “anchor” event to the fall diaper drive. We collected more than 1/2 of the original goal during just that one day drive and smashed the 30K goal that fall by more than 20K diapers. And look at us now! Collecting more than twice that 1st library drive amount during Stuff the Truck 2012, helping us to reach toward our ambitious “200,000 by Thanksgiving” fall diaper drive goal!
We couldn’t have grown the Library drive from an in-lobby effort to the size it is now without the generous support of Fat Chef in a Little Coat Catering Service, a fantastic Canton-based company owned by the Hulett Family who selflessly give up use of their bright yellow truck for two days so we can park it in front of Canton Library and “stuff” it full of diapers. Not only do the Huletts drive the truck over to our storage space at the end of night 2 and help us unload, Mom Cathy Hulett brought us THE most delicious meat-lovers pizza to keep us fueled up through the final few hours at the truck last night! You have to check out the amazing food they offer at their new storefront in Cherry Hill Village!
We are always thankful to our ace volunteers Bruce Will, Melva Parks and Jessica Roland, who work continuously and tirelessly to support the Diaper Bank throughout the year, but stepped it up even more the last two days. Shout-out to Melva’s granddaughter Kendall, who has a big future in diaper-package sealing, counting and stuffing!
And our great in-truck volunteers this year: Lisa Kluka (3rd year in the truck!), Marybeth Miller, St. Mary Girl Scouts from Wayne (and Bridget Jarvis and other parents!) and Girl Scouts from Troop 640 in Canton, Laura Dyas, Darius Daneshyar, Carlye Petro, Ed Weidenbach. Lisa, Marybeth M., and Jessica came for chunks of time on BOTH days — we’re so grateful for ALL of the volunteers, not only do many hands make light work, but everyone was great company and made the time fly by.
Most of all, our deepest, most sincere thanks to all of the DONORS. The generosity of our community never ceases to amaze me. We received some very large donations from companies like J&B Medical Supply and organizations like The Livonia Senior Center. We also received some huge diaper collections from diaper drives like the one at The Funky Frog Children’s Resale Boutique in Rochester and church groups and community organizations, some of whom we didn’t even realize had been collecting for us. We also received some very generous financial donations, which will help us purchase additional diapers.
The large donations definitely had an impact on how quickly the truck was “stuffed”, but I will personally never get over the number of times a car would pull up in the loop in front of the Library and stop just to have someone walk a pack of diapers over to us, get back in their car and drive off. It happened over and over and over throughout the two days, and it was just the most amazing, heartwarming thing to see.
We loved meeting and thanking and talking with our neighbors, seeing so many people from so many places around the region, coming to donate diapers for those in need.
Many people said they donated last year and looked for the drive again this year, many people just heard of it for the first time this year but already pledged to help again next year. We’ll still be picking up diapers from some donors throughout the next week – some couldn’t get the diapers to us during the two days, some could only fit part of what they have to donate in their car. Diapers continue to be dropped off at the Library today and probably will throughout the next couple weeks.
The final count of donated diapers at 9 pm last night was 38,954!
And a quick, final thank you to Mother Nature, who finally came through with a couple of very nice days for us. After having 4 of the coldest November days over the last two years, including having sleet blow in on us IN the truck last year, two sunny days in the mid-to-high 40s made a very fun event all the more pleasant. So thanks for not having fun at our expense, this year, Ma Nature!
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank is in the running for grants up to $50,000 in the Art Van Charity Challenge
Your vote will decide the winner in the 4th annual Million Dollar Charity Challenge campaign
CANTON, MI – May 17, 2012: The Detroit Area Diaper Bank is asking for your support – not in dollars, but in votes! Beginning Friday, May 18 and running for two weeks, the community is invited to vote for their favorite Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge organization from among 150 Michigan based charities. The top three charities with the most votes will win grants of $25,000, $15,000 or $10,000.
To cast a vote, supporters can visit http://www.artvancharitychallenge.com. Supporters may only cast ONE vote throughout the contest. Art Van Furniture will announce the winners on Friday, June 1, 2012.
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank NEEDS YOUR HELP to secure these critical funds! In its first three years, the Diaper Bank has provided nearly 1.3 million diapers and incontinence supplies to more than 60 nonprofit and state agencies serving our neediest neighbors across Southeast Michigan. But the need continues and resources become more scarce during the summer when diaper drives and donations tend to slow down. Please cast your vote for The Diaper Bank and help continue to make a difference with diapers — 100% of funds will be used to purchase diapers and incontinence supplies.
The Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge is an innovative program presented by Art Van Furniture that awards challenge grants from $5,000 to $50,000 to support Michigan-based nonprofit organizations that focus on children, health and human services programs. Within the last three years, 150 Michigan charities have been awarded a total of $3 million dollars. Through the challenge component, $10 million has been raised since the program began in 2009. For a complete list of Art Van Million Dollar Charities visit artvancharitychallenge.com.
About Art Van Furniture
Art Van Furniture is Michigan’s largest furniture retailer and America’s largest independent furniture retailer. The company operates 34 stores in Michigan, a full service e-commerce website, plus six freestanding Art Van PureSleep bedding stores in Canton, Troy, Rochester Hills, Brighton, Ann Arbor and New Hudson, Michigan. Founded in 1959, the company is family-owned and headquartered in Warren, Mich. Check out artvan.com for more information.
About The Detroit Area Diaper Bank
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank is a 501c3 nonprofit charity founded in April 2009 to address the unmet need for diapers among the most vulnerable in Metro Detroit – babies from low-income households, people with disabilities and the elderly with incontinence issues. There is no assistance for diapers, they are not paid for or provided by WIC, Food Stamps or Medicare. The Diaper Bank works to address this large “hole” in the safety net and enable our partner nonprofit agencies to provide more whole solutions for our neighbors in need. Check out detroitareadiaperbank.org for more information.
Contact: Marybeth Levine
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank, Inc.
Link to downloadable .doc version is here
CANTON, MICH. (August 1, 2011) – The Detroit Area Diaper Bank, a Canton-based nonprofit charity providing diapers for people in need in Southeast Michigan, launches its 3rd Annual Fall Diaper Drive today. The Diaper Drive’s goal is to collect 200,000 diapers (or the funds to buy them) by Thanksgiving 2011.
No federal assistance programs pay for or provide diapers, not WIC, Food Stamps or Medicare. Nonprofit organizations and state agencies working with families and individuals in crisis consistently list diapers as an ongoing and TOP need.
An average infant uses up to 12 diapers per day, a toddler up to 8 per day. But in low-income households, a baby may be in a single diaper all day or longer, increasing the chance of health problems and putting the child at risk for abuse. Parents who can’t afford diapers can’t leave their child at daycare to go to work or school. Some children with disabilities never outgrow the need for diapers and seniors who can’t afford incontinence supplies often become home-bound or end up in a nursing home.
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank exists to address this largely unknown and chronically unmet need; the Annual Fall Diaper Drive helps drive donations into the Diaper Bank so that it can fulfill more of its partner agencies’ families’ needs and be able to help through the holidays and start of the new year, a time when donations tend to slow down.
“Our goal for the ‘200,000 by Thanksgiving’ Diaper Drive is of course primarily to bring in resources that we can distribute to our partner agencies working with our neighbors in need. But we also hope it helps to raise awareness about the diaper issue and engage the community in our mission. We are always in need of individuals, businesses, schools, community organizations and places of worship to run fundraisers and diaper drives to support the Diaper Bank, whether it’s before Thanksgiving or not,” said Marybeth Levine, Founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Area Diaper Bank. “The diapers go out just as quickly as they come in, so we are looking for year-round partnerships and support to help us really make a difference with diapers.”
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank’s mission is to raise awareness about the large hole in the “safety net” resulting in the unmet need for diapers in our community’s most vulnerable populations — babies from low-income households, the elderly, people with disabilities — and build a network to help meet it. For more information, please visit www.detroitareadiaperbank.org.
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Since launching the Detroit Area Diaper Bank on April 12, 2009, I’ve been asked how and why I started it and have recounted the story so many times, that I figured it’s time to finally write it down.
In December 2000, I was a newlywed living in Tucson, Arizona. One day, while out doing errands during my lunch break at work, I heard the DJ on the radio talking about the holiday diaper drive he was participating in for the Southern Arizona Community Diaper Bank (now the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona).
He said that no assistance programs paid for diapers and recounted stories of parents resorting to scraping off diapers and putting them back on their children. Or laying wet diapers out in the Arizona sun to dry and reusing them, hoping they’d continue to be absorbent. He talked about how children who are uncomfortable don’t sleep well or might have severe diaper rash and cry, and how in an already stressed household, an inconsolable baby is a baby at risk for abuse.
He also talked about seniors on fixed incomes who can’t afford the exorbitantly-expensive adult diapers they need and so they stay home, becoming isolated and increasing pressure on other services like Meals on Wheels and in-home care. And also about children with disabilities who may never outgrow the need for diapers and will need them to go to school or job training.
It was one of those rare, life-changing “lightbulb” moments.
“People who need it can’t get help with diapers?” I said out loud to myself in the car. I was truly stunned. Here I was, a college-educated, informed professional who had worked on Capitol Hill yet had no idea that none of the federal assistance programs – not WIC, Food Stamps or Medicare – paid for diapers or hygiene supplies for those in need.
I immediately turned my car into the parking lot of a grocery store I was passing, bought diapers and dropped them off at the diaper drive where the DJ had been broadcasting.
And the issue of diaper need became a part of who I am.
In March 2003, my husband was hired by Ford Motor Company and moved us to Canton, Michigan.
When we arrived, I knew Metro Detroit needed a Diaper Bank. By this point, my husband, my parents back in Virginia Beach and my friends were used to me talking passionately about diaper banks, what the need for diapers means, collecting diapers and running drives for local shelters, and that I wanted to start one some day. However, at the time we moved to Michigan, I had a 5-month-old son, my mother was sick back in Virginia, we had two more children in quick succession, and then I lost my mom. So life, as it does, happened, and the Diaper Bank couldn’t make it to the front burner.
But in April 2009, my youngest had turned 3 and I was just starting to feel that I was getting some time back for myself. It was the height of the recession and unemployment in Michigan was over 15%. Previously middle-class families were sliding down the economic scale and needed assistance for the first time, increasing pressure on social services that were already strained. Families in poverty were sinking deeper into poverty. I knew I had to get the Diaper Bank started – even if only on a small scale – but I had to start doing something to help get diapers out for those who were so in need.
So I incorporated, applied for 501c3 tax-exempt status, built the website, and with the help of free social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, the Detroit Area Diaper Bank was launched on April 12, 2009. The date holds special significance for me since it is also my mother’s birthday. I know she would have loved the Diaper Bank project and the difference we hope to make for our neighbors in need.
I’m extremely grateful to my family, friends and all of our donors and supporters who have helped the Detroit Area Diaper Bank come to fruition and start to make an impact across Metro Detroit.
I am still just as passionate about the diaper issue more than a decade later and am excited to continue growing our community diaper bank until it’s part of the basic social fabric of Southeast Michigan. Every community needs a diaper bank. I’m proud to say I’ve helped make sure that Metro Detroit has one.
I’m so pleased to present this guest post by Julianna Blankenship, one of the Detroit Area Diaper Bank‘s early friends, supporters, advocates and connectors. I first saw the post when it came across my personal Facebook news feed from her personal Facebook account, and frankly, I got chills when I read it. It is also posted on her Tumblr page and I’m thrilled to re-post it here with her permission:
I firmly believe that the things we connect with emotionally are there for a purpose. Those desires are within us to meet the needs of those we meet during our time on earth because there is endless need all around us.
I’ve found my heart drawn to the plight of those without diapers. I had never thought of it before, but it’s such a basic need. And, to those without it, it can be the difference between success and failure, independence and dependence, thriving or abuse.
In my late teens, I worked in a child care center. Parents are required to bring a daily supply of diapers for their child in order to have them attend. A healthy daily diaper change for an infant requires between 5-8 diapers/day, while a toddler requires 3-5. Some parents struggled to keep their baby’s diaper supply stocked and my young mind always wondered why. “It’s only a few bucks,” I thought when I had to ask a struggling single mom, yet again, to bring more diapers. “What a lazy parent,” 18-year-old me thought.
A lack of diapers accompanies a host of other social issues. When a single mother is unable to provide diapers, the child cannot attend daycare, leading to lost income or even a lost job. A child in a wet diaper is miserable and inconsolable, which can lead to child abuse and shaken baby syndrome as a stressed parent is unable to quiet the child and the child is unable to sleep. Leaving a child in a used diaper can also lead to sores and infection. And, for a family with no health insurance, this means costly doctors visits. All for the need of a clean diaper.
As homes and jobs are lost in Michigan, the Detroit Area Diaper Bank has seen a surge in diaper needs as families who were once solidly middle class slip below the poverty line and money must be spent on food and shelter rather than diapers. Mothers have to scrape off the diaper and then rediaper the child in it because that one diaper must last a day or even 2 or 3. I know it’s uncomfortable to think about, but imagine the discomfort of the child in that diaper.
Many of these families live in urban areas that are under-served by grocery stores, so the family must buy diapers at the corner convenience store. Next time you’re in a 7/11, check out the price of a pack of diapers. A 10-pack will usually run about $6-$8, whereas at a grocery store, you could buy 3x or 4x that amount of diapers for the price.
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank was established a few years ago to help provide this basic dignity to people who are struggling in our area. I’ve worked with this organization for a little over a year now and I’m amazed at the tenacity shown by the DADB’s founder, Marybeth. She is a strong woman and a person of fortitude, who organizes the Diaper Bank on a solely volunteer basis. Enlisting the help of her husband and 3 young sons, her home and car are usually filled to the brim with diaper deliveries to local social service programs who distribute the donations.
It has been my goal to establish a support network in Oakland County for the Canton-based Diaper Bank. Working with Zion Christian Church, we’ve collected more than 11,000 diapers for the DADB and each one has been delivered to children, disabled individuals and senior citizens in need. Zion is planning another diaper drive soon and I would like to expand that diaper drive to include many more organizations in Oakland County.
I need your help. I want to talk to more organizations and arrange diaper drives. Can you provide me with a contact at your church, school or job? Message me! Can you talk to your boss about hosting a diaper drive? It won’t cost them a penny!
Many families have packs of diapers that their children outgrew – we can use those diapers. When an elderly family member has passed away, leaving a supply of adult diapers – we can use those diapers. When you see diapers on sale at the store, grab a pack – we need those diapers. If you have any questions, please message me. I’m happy to share any information I can.
Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” Providing a diaper to someone in need is the definition of “the least” we can do. The topic is gross, it’s primal and no one wants to talk about it, but it’s a need we all have and it’s a dignity we all deserve.
An update on the Detroit Area Diaper Bank by the numbers:
In April 2010, the Diaper Bank distributed 16,175 diapers to organizations in two counties (Wayne, Oakland).
In April 2011, the Diaper Bank distributed 30,259 diapers to organizations in five counties (Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne).
As in the case of children’s diapers, Large and X-Large-size adult diapers tend to go the quickest and are not donated as often as the smaller sizes. And like children’s diapers, there are less per package as the sizes go up. Our partner said they get asked for Large and XL the most, so that is what I went out to purchase with this wonderful donation.
I don’t think I’ll ever get over the sticker-shock of adult-size diapers. We hear a lot about how expensive children’s-size diapers and pull-ups are, but adult-size diaper costs are just insane. Especially when you do the per-diaper cost of the Large and XLarge sizes.
I spent $129.91 and came home with 204 diapers. If you do the math, that’s an average of 64 cents PER diaper. When I break down the separate packages, the per diaper costs ranged from 53 cents to 86 cents. And keep in mind that I can purchase tax-exempt, so my dollars stretch just a little bit further, someone buying the same # of diapers would have paid $137.70, so their average cost would have been more like 68 cents per diaper.
This is a crushing expense for someone who may be living only on Social Security. We need to remember our seniors and adults that require incontinence products for any reason, be it health or disability. Making sure people have what they need to take care of their basic health and hygiene supports their independence, and perhaps more importantly, provides and retains their dignity. Aren’t those things we all want in our future?