Today, April 12th, marks 5 years since I launched the Detroit Area Diaper Bank.
I knew on that day in 2009 that Metro Detroit needed a diaper bank, that the diaper issue needed to be brought forward and people made aware of the need, but what I couldn’t have imagined on that day is how our community would respond.
SO MUCH generosity, enthusiasm, and compassion! You, our donors and supporters, have helped us collect and distribute almost 2 million diapers to help our neighbors in need over the past 5 years – that’s absolutely amazing. And I hope you will continue your enthusiasm for the issue and remember that this need never goes away. Nonprofits all across the area continue their good works and need your support.
Things are beginning to accelerate toward our move date, so I’m considering today the technical “close” date for DADB. I have one more distribution of adult diapers coming up and then our resources will finally be exhausted. These past 5 years have been beyond fulfilling, an experience I will carry with me always – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
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.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday … after two days of shopping, a day to give back.
Today is #GivingTuesday.
Please consider a gift today and remember the Diaper Bank in your year-end giving.
We met our big Fall Diaper Drive goal, we shook its hand, and then ran right past it.
THANK YOU to ALL of our Donors and Diaper Drive Hosts and participants and Dropoff Locations. Thank you to volunteers Bruce Will, who picked up most of those diaper drives and donations at our dropoff locations, and Melva Parks, who took ALL of the open and partial packages and loose resources and got them distribution-ready.
Big, big thanks, too, to the Canton Public Library for hosting the anchor event for our Fall Drive for the 5th year in a row, it was another phenomenally successful “Stuff the Truck!” event on November 20th and 21st. A record number of diapers came in again this year, bringing the amount the Canton Library has helped collect for the Detroit Area Diaper Bank to 158,116 over the past 5 years!
Our deep thanks, too, to Fat Chef in a Little Coat Catering and the Hulett Family for allowing us to use their beautiful bright yellow truck to “stuff” for the 4th year in a row. And thanks to ALL of the volunteers who came out to help in the truck over the 2 days, particularly Lisa Kluka, who has helped BOTH mornings of EVERY year for the past 4 years!!
You can see pictures from this year’s Stuff the Truck event HERE.
THANK YOU to everyone who made our 5th Annual Fall Diaper Drive such a phenomenal success, it will help us help our nonprofit partners through the holidays and into the winter months. Distributions, in fact, start at the end of this week! Thank you for helping us make a difference with diapers.
THANK YOU to all of our donors and supporters for your help and support in 2013!
It’s been an amazing few weeks of media exposure for the Detroit Area Diaper Bank and at the perfect time, just as we launched our 5th Annual Fall Diaper Drive! In case anyone missed any of our recent coverage, here are the highlights:
Such fantastic exposure! We’re so grateful for all of the opportunities. And the launch of our 5th Annual Fall Diaper Drive undoubtedly benefitted, as we crossed the 10% mark of our big fall goal in the first week!
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!
I’m often asked how we distribute diapers, so I made a video while I was distributing today to give an idea of how we work. Big thanks to the representatives from our partner agencies that agreed to go on camera for me!
Click through to get to the video:
*note: this content is from our 12/20/2011 year-end newsletter*
We’re deep into the holidays and the new year is around the corner – time to reflect on and wrap up this year and send out our thanks and gratitude to everyone who helped us get here. I’m still working on year-end numbers and paperwork, but I can tell you that 2011 was a huge year for The Detroit Area Diaper Bank, all thanks to YOU, our donors and supporters.
I don’t think I can ever give full thanks to everyone who contributed to our success and helped us pursue our mission this year. SO MANY people have been part of our community diaper bank’s growth and success — you know who you are, and I hope you know how deeply, deeply grateful we are to you.
We wish you and yours the Happiest of Holidays and we look forward to continuing our good work together in 2012!