I’m 43, I had 3 huge baby boys, and I’m currently suffering from one of those rib-cage-rattling coughs that grabs on and just won’t let go.
The irony is not lost on me that ‘the Diaper Lady’ has found herself shopping in the Poise aisle while battling this cough. And experiencing that fearful hope-beyond-hope that the pad I’m wearing can prevent any ’embarrassing accidents’ when I’m in public and a coughing jag comes on.
This may be TMI for some people, but really, ladies especially that have had children, as we get older, the likelihood is that we’re all going to need some kind of incontinence supply. In fact, I’m sure I’m not the only one in my age-range dealing with this now.
If you’re among the fortunate ones that will be comfortable enough in your retirement to be able to afford the (crushingly expensive) personal hygiene products you’ll need to go on living life normally and discreetly, that’s great. But for scores of seniors who enter their “golden years” with just their Social Security check and Medicare to rely on, it just may not be possible. Most seniors will tell you their Social Security check doesn’t fully cover rent, utilities, food & medicine to get through a month, and Medicare won’t pay for or provide incontinence items.
I imagine what I’d do if I was struggling with this cough, which I can’t control, without the protection for my independence and dignity against “accidents” while coughing, which I also can’t control. I guess I’d stay home and avoid the possibility of having ‘an accident’ in public, but there goes my independence and dignity.
What would you do? What will you do??
Diaper need doesn’t just affect low-income families with babies, it also affects people with disabilities, seniors with incontinence issues, and heck, even Diaper Ladies with a bad cough. Let’s not shy away from these ’embarrassing’ conversations – more of us can relate than you think or that might admit it.
So, have you taken the plunge?
Were you an early adopter to the new Facebook “Timeline” layout? Or are you holding out, waiting until Facebook literally force-changes your page?
I’m typically a “stand fast until there’s nothing left to stand on” kind of person in terms of these layout change things. I stuck with the old Twitter interface, ignoring the perma-threat they put on my page that it would be gone any day, until one day, it was gone.
So when news of the new Facebook Timeline interface came along, I’d planned to “stand fast” again. I wouldn’t change from my comfortable, familiar profile interface until they MADE me. I might have tried out the new interface, but found out there’s no “revert” button. Once you go Timeline, you never go back.
But then I read an article about nonprofits creating Timeline Covers for their supporters that provide attractive photos that “fit” the somewhat odd cover photo size, while providing “branding” and message-spreading opportunities for the organizations.
As a small, all-volunteer nonprofit charity, The Detroit Area Diaper Bank is all about maximizing as many free resources as possible that help promote our mission. We try to stay informed on new trends and be nimble enough to get as much on the front-end of what nonprofits are using “out there” as much as possible. (see our Pinterest boards!)
So I set about learning about Facebook Timeline Covers and creating some initial offerings for the Diaper Bank. This, of course, meant that I needed to be able to try out the cover photos — so yes, I had to give up my “stand fast” ways and WILLINGLY convert to the new Timeline interface. Like getting a shot, the anticipation of making the change was much worse than the reality of it. It’s really not bad.
And you know what made it easier? Having an awesome Diaper Bank Timeline Cover photo dressing up my new profile page. Seriously, I truly enjoy it.
So let us help you with your transition! Whether you’re an early adopter or are standing fast, waiting until your hand is forced, when it’s time to find a cover photo to use, please help yourself to one of ours, you can check them out in the gallery, below. It’ll dress up your page AND show your support for our Community Diaper Bank! We’ll keep trying to come up with fresh Covers to add, so please keep checking in on this page for more options.
Change is a’comin’, so go ahead and jump, or wait to be pushed. Either way, we hope we can help you settle into your new Timeline home with a little Metro-Detroit-DADB-flavor. Grab yourself a Timeline Cover now!
Many of you have heard me give shout-outs to Bruce Will over the last 2 1/2 years, he was one of the first people who noticed, “got” and dedicated himself to supporting our community Diaper Bank and he’s been THE go-to guy for me since the summer of ’09.
A quick re-cap of his story: my husband Steve took our three boys to 7-11 one day in June 2009, just two months after we’d launched. He drove our family full-size conversion van, which I’d adorned with huge Diaper Bank side-door magnets and bumper stickers. Bruce saw the van in the parking lot and asked (like most do), “what’s a diaper bank?”
Bruce is a Ford retiree who, instead of filling his time with golf or other recreational activities, has been involved with and looked for volunteering opportunities. When we met, he’d been a dedicated volunteer with a large charity and spent every Wednesday helping them downtown for the past 8 years.
When Steve described the Diaper Bank, Bruce had the lightbulb moment – the same one I had back in Tucson, Arizona, almost 12 years ago when I first learned about diaper need and what a Diaper Bank is. He told Steve he’d love to help and gave him his number to pass on to me. When I heard the story, I was touched by his reaction but honestly didn’t know how I could involve him, we were still so young and just getting started.
Just a few days later, I found myself in a “double-booked” situation — I was supposed to drop diapers off somewhere in Oakland County at the same time I was due to pick up some diapers downtown. I remembered that Bruce said that he went to Detroit on Wednesdays, so I called and asked if he’d be able to help me with the pick-up. He said he’d be happy to, he seemed to love it, and everyone he was in contact with loved him too.
And a beautiful friendship was born – Bruce has done so much to help over the last few years, from picking up and dropping off donations, to securing a huge donation of diapers for us during our 2nd fall diaper drive, to helping lug and move and re-move diapers, to storing diapers and collection bins for us in his own garage, … I really don’t know how we would have done what we’ve been able to do the last 2.5 years without him.
The Diaper Bank’s growing quickly, Bruce’s commitment remains strong, thankfully, and he’s recently been able to dedicate even more time to us, which is beyond fantastic. So I’m thrilled to now introduce Bruce in a more formal capacity with the Detroit Area Diaper Bank, he has taken on the role of Diaper Collection Coordinator (“The Pick-Up Artist” was a title in contention at one point, but we feared it might be construed the wrong way…), and he will now take on all front-line communication and coordination for any donation pickups that need to be made across Metro Detroit. He will also be the point of contact for our donation dropoff locations and make it possible to grow the number of dropoff locations we have available.
We also want to build a network of volunteers that Bruce will be able to call upon and coordinate with as pick-up requests overlap or are in locations that are not convenient to where Bruce may be at a particular place or time. So we’ve started a Google Group to create an email list that Bruce and I can post to when various volunteer opportunities crop up (not limited to just donation pickups, we will also turn to the email list first when we need volunteers for events or if we need spot-help with things like sorting and re-packaging loose diapers, etc.).
If you’d like to join the Google Group to receive volunteer opportunities by email from me and/or Bruce, please visit the group page to subscribe:
|Visit this group|
Thank you, Bruce, for taking the lead on what is a major piece of our Diaper Bank puzzle – it will relieve so much off my plate in terms of where I need to split my time, and our donors, our partner agencies, and interested volunteers will all be served better for it.
Please join me in thanking and welcoming The Detroit Area Diaper Bank’s new Diaper Collection Coordinator, Bruce Will!
*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!
What an amazing fall we’ve had – I’m late in posting this to our blog, but we did send out a THANKFUL newsletter right after Thanksgiving – our post is below:
We hope you had a wonderful holiday. Inspired by the theme of the day, we’re sharing our recent updates through expressions of gratitude:
We’re THANKFUL that we not only met but EXCEEDED our big fall Diaper Drive goal! We challenged the community to help us collect 200,000 by Thanksgiving to help our neighbors in need, and you MORE than stepped up – thank you!!
We’re THANKFUL for all of the donors and all the individuals and organizations that have run diaper drives to help us reach our goal and/or participated in fundraisers. THANK YOU for your engagement and support! We can’t make a difference with diapers without your help!
We’re THANKFUL to the Canton Public Library for hosting another phenomenally successful anchor event to our fall diaper drive, “Stuff the Truck!” on November 16 & 17. THANK YOU to Library Director Eva Davis, Marketing Director Laurie Golden, and EVERYONE at CPL. THANK YOU to Dave and Steve Hulett, owners of Fat Chef in a Little Coat Catering, who loaned us their truck for two days. THANK YOU to the ALL the volunteers who came out and helped in the wind and the cold. And most importantly, THANK YOU to all of the donors who helped us collect an amazing 30,813 diapers in just TWO days! The Library’s photo album of the event can be seen here.
We’re THANKFUL to have been one of the 12 stops on Huggies’ “12 Days of Thanks” cross-country tour. On November 21st, The Detroit Area Diaper Bank received 250,000 diapers from Huggies! We had a huge distribution the same morning as the donation, sending 36 of our nonprofit partner agencies off with most of the 250K diapers. Seeing the partner response and how much need we’re serving in Metro Detroit, Huggies is donating ANOTHER 182,000 diapers to The Detroit Area Diaper Bank, to be received and distributed in early December! Pictures from the big donation/distribution last week can be seen here. And a HUGE THANK YOU to MSA Delivery Service in Canton for making the donation and distribution possible with their facility, equipment, staff and generosity!
We’re THANKFUL that because of your donations and support, we’re able to help our neighbors, like Maggie.
We’re THANKFUL for your encouragement, engagement, support and help in building our community diaper bank and making a difference with diapers in Metro Detroit! THANK YOU!
And now that we’re past Thanksgiving, we can officially start saying Happy Holidays!
I was chatting with Sharon Daniels from one of our recipient partner agencies the last time she came to pick up diapers and somehow during the conversation it came up that she makes her own baby wipes. Though her daughter is way past the diaper stage, she still makes them for family camping trips, to keep in the car to refresh hands, wipe things up, etc. She also said recommends the ‘recipe’ to families she gives diapers to and I thought that sounded like a great idea.
Inspired, I asked her for the directions so I could try them out and also share with our other partners and anyone else who might come to us that needs wipes.
So I have just given them a try and am including a step-by-step pictorial of my wipes-making-adventure below. If you would like to try them yourself, here are the materials you’ll need:
1 large roll of paper towels (cut in half)
1 Bowl (the size of one half of the roll)
3 TBSP of baby shampoo (any kind)
3 TBSP baby lotion (any kind)
2 Cups of boiling water
Step 1: Use a large serrated knife to cut a roll of paper towels in half (Sharon mentioned Bounty select-a-size, I have the Kroger version of select-a-size on hand so am using those)
Step 2: Add the baby wash and baby lotion to 2 Cups of boiling water in the container and whisk it all together. I have the Kroger brand of baby bath and the Target brand of baby lotion on hand – any can be used. If your child is allergic to perfumes and you need to use unscented, keep an eye out for mold if the wipes sit around too long. I read one article about homemade wipes that said they think that the alcohol content in the perfumed baby bath is probably what helps keep mold at bay. If you make a huge batch and don’t use them quickly, make sure to keep an eye on them and throw them away if they sit too long and show signs of molding.
Step 3: Place half the roll of paper towels in the container and put the lid on, then shake. If the top pops, keep putting it back on and keep shaking. Then turn the bowl upside down and leave for a couple of hours, checking in and shaking it now and again.
(full disclosure – in order to get the roll to fit in this container I was using, I had to cut it down to about 1/3 size – so make sure you have a container with a tight-fitting lid that fits a 1/2 roll before you start the process)
Step 4: Flip bowl back over and remove the cardboard tube from the center of the roll. Pull individual towels out and you have baby wipes!
As you can see below, I tore individual sheets and laid 50 of them in an old wipes container I still have to see if I could access and use them like I used to use baby wipes when the kids were small; I also made a pile of 25, folded them in half and put them in a small ziploc to keep in my purse; and then made a pile of 40 and put them in a large ziploc bag to keep in the car or van. So counting the ones I used first to try them out, I got ~120 usable baby wipes from just that 1/2 (1/3) tube. I have the other 1/2 soaking now, and I turned it sideways into a different bowl with lid so I didn’t have to cut that one down. I should get at least another 120 wipes from that 1/2 (and they’ll be slightly larger than the first set), so that means I’ll get ~240 baby wipes out of just one roll of paper towels and a few tablespoons of baby wash and lotion I already had on hand.
And the final test – I gave each of the boys a wipe to try — they gave them very high marks! They all thought they felt good, felt like a baby wipe and like how they smell. So that REALLY makes them a success – I highly recommend this ‘recipe’, will be sharing it with our partners and will make the information available on our website, hoping that anyone that comes to our site looking for help with diapers might find this useful as well.
I THANK Sharon for the inspiration and instructions. And boy, do I wish I knew about this when my kids were still in diapers!
Maggie, 86, has lived in her home in Warren for the last 35+ years and still takes care of herself. She has a son nearby who checks on her and helps her out, but the only other support she receives is Meals on Wheels. She lives entirely off of her Social Security check, which she said barely, and often doesn’t, stretch the whole month.
Following an illness and hospital stay, Maggie experiences urinary incontinence and uses pads to limit accidents when she can. On top of being costly, Maggie says the pads she’s used are thick and uncomfortable and chafe her. She has to carry several with her if she leaves the house in case one gets wet, but then, she says, “I’m embarrassed and afraid someone will see them in my purse.”
So Maggie usually stays home. “It’s not as big a deal if I have an accident around here,” she says.
She keeps one diaper her neighbor gave her in a drawer, waiting for the day she has to go to her doctor appointments. Maggie was positively effusive about how fantastic the diaper was – the last one she wore “fit her like a glove”, it didn’t leak, it was comfortable, and she wasn’t worried about having an accident. You’d think adult diapers were a brand new thing on the market, listening to her go on about them.
But to Maggie, they’re a luxury. They’re expensive and she can’t get out easily to get them.
After reading this article in the Warren Weekly, Maggie called both the article author and me, asking about the Diaper Bank and explaining her situation. “I just thought I’d give it a try and see if this might be what could get me some help. It just seemed like such a blessing,” Maggie told me.
Thanks to all of our generous donors and supporters, the Detroit Area Diaper Bank can help make sure Maggie has access to the basic hygiene items she needs to be more comfortable both at home and when she leaves the house.
Dignity. Independence. Health. Security. Confidence. Aren’t those the things that everyone in their golden years deserve?
Aren’t those the things we all want?
Helping wonderful neighbors like Maggie is exactly why the Detroit Area Diaper Bank exists. Maggie could not have been more touched, thrilled or grateful.
This is what it’s all about.
Thank you to everyone who supports us, encourages us and helps us make a difference with diapers!
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.
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank was extremely fortunate to be one of the four nonprofits chosen by East Lansing-based P.R. and Marketing firm Publicom, Inc. to participate in their “Pro Bono Publico!” 2011 event.
The 24-hour marketing and p.r. marathon produced some great printed materials for us and an amazing radio Public Service Announcement AND a great video PSA.
We’re so grateful to everyone at Publicom and especially the team that worked on our project.
To listen to the radio PSA, click here.
To watch the video PSA, click here.
THANK YOU Publicom!!