In just under a year since the Diaper Bank of Sampson County was formed, close to 50,000 diapers have been collected locally for parents to provide a “basic necessity for all children” — and that mission is ongoing.
Chris Driver, founder and director of the Diaper Bank of Sampson County, earlier this month requested that Mayor Lew Starling and the Clinton City Council proclaim Sept. 26-Oct. 2 as Diaper Needs Awareness Week. The board unanimously concurred.
Driver said the local diaper bank hopes to soon become a member of the National Diaper Bank Network, joining over 300 other community-based organizations that are also combating diaper needs in their local community.
“By issuing a proclamation, you will inform our fellow residents that one in three families cannot afford diapers for their children and encourage support for diaper banks like ours, as we work to keep babies clean, dry, healthy and happy,” Driver stated.
Since partnering with the Sampson County Health Department in October 2015, the Sampson bank has distributed close to 50,000 diapers and assisted well over 1,600 local families.
“In conjunction with Diaper Needs Awareness Week, diaper banks are working with state and local governments to raise awareness of the issue, planning donation events and holding events to rally for sustainable support of diaper bank programs, so we may continue helping parents gain access to a basic necessity for all children,” Driver remarked.
City manager Shawn Purvis read the proclamation into the record.
The proclamation noted that access to “a reliable supply of clean diapers is a necessity for the health and welfare of infants and toddlers, their families and child and healthcare providers.” A supply of diapers is generally an eligibility requirement for those children to participate in childcare programs, and when they cannot, it makes it difficult for their parents and guardians to hold jobs.
That is particularly an issue in North Carolina, where an estimated 50 percent of children live in low-income situations.
“The average infant or toddler requires an estimated 50 diaper changes per week over three years … and diapers cannot be bought with food stamps or WIC vouchers,” the city’s proclamation stated. “Therefore, providing a sufficient supply of diapers can cause economic hardship to families in need.”
Driver urged support.
“Although we have made great progress in the last 10 months,” he said, “the need for diaper assistance remains a chronic condition for many in our community and we are asking for your support.”
Anyone wishing to donate diapers can do so by contacting Driver through the Diaper Bank of Sampson County Facebook page or dropping them off at Clinton City Hall or Go Automotive.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.