Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Doing Something Good

Last summer, I read this article.  Maybe it was posted on Yahoo News for, like, a day, or maybe I saw it in another feed.  Regardless, it touched me.  You know that overwhelming feeling of sympathy, when you read or see something terrible, and your chest hurts?  Yeah, I felt that.


And then, the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon kicked in: I started seeing the same report everywhere.  Articles kept popping up.


I’ve known about diaper need for a few years; I’ve read about it through Rookie Moms and their affiliation with Help A Mother Out.  I was guilty of thinking, “somebody should do something about that here.”  But in late August, I realized that I was somebody, and I could do something.


I contacted the Community Action Agency of Skagit County and asked them if they would be able to store and distribute diapers if I organized a diaper drive.  Yes, they said.  Enthusiastically, even.  They have space in the food distribution center to store as many diapers as I could find and the means to distribute them to needy families through the 13 Skagit County food banks and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.


Then I got pregnant.  And sick.  So I let the idea sit on the back-burner for awhile.  I enlisted some friends to help brainstorm how to go about enticing all the people I knew and could reach to donate diapers.  A great friend of mine is also a graphic designer, and volunteered to create our logo and fliers.


Spring came, and it was time.


Skagit Diaper Drive 6-12



The cycle of poverty IS a cycle, and a depressing one at that.  30% of families in need report reusing dirty diapers or keeping their children in dirty diapers long after they should have been changed.  Dirty diapers can lead to unhealthy kids who suffer from diaper rash, bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, fevers… the list goes on.  Parents need to work – impoverished parents, if they have jobs, need to keep them – but some daycare facilities require an adequate diaper supply to keep the children there.  Not enough diapers leads to sick kids and increased medical costs and missed work.  Missed work means less income.  Less income means the ability to pay for diapers decreases.


I can only imagine the guilt and stress that must come with having to choose between buying food, medicine, or diapers, or paying utilities and rent.  When the cost of diapers can be up to $100 each month for each child, this is a reality for many poor families.  And that just plain sucks.


I know I can’t fix the world.  I can’t make sure that every child is well-fed or clean-diapered.  I can’t fix poverty or the myriad reasons people find themselves in poverty.  But I can organize a diaper drive.  In fact, it has been remarkably simple.  If you’re in Skagit County, you can donate disposable diapers, even loose ones (like if, for instance, your child grew and you had leftovers) at the following locations:


The Skagit Valley Family YMCA and all 5 YMCA Early Learning Centers

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce

The Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce

The Sedro-Woolley Chamber of Commerce

Three Little Birds Boutique & Salon (offering a 10% discount on purchases with diaper donation!!!)

Sedro-Woolley Public Library

Key Bank in Mount Vernon

The Skagit Children’s Museum

Riverside Health Club in Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley (inside Kids’ Club)

Goodwinds (of course)


Thank you to everyone who has helped so far, Community Action, the drop-off sites, my friends who are donating and spreading the word, and especially my dear friend Heather.  No mater how many diapers we collect, it will make a big difference in someone’s life, and for someone’s cute, little, diapered bottom.


And if you decide that you want to be somebody and organize a diaper drive in your town, let me know.  I can give you tips and encouragement.  At the very least, your hometown food donation centers might already accept diapers for distribution, so pick up an extra package next time you have a coupon!

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