When Chris Driver and other organizers of the Diaper Bank of Sampson County began collecting diapers in July, they never imagined the response they would get to the need many families across Sampson County face.
Started as a local unincorporated nonprofit with the mission of assisting local families who are in need of diapers and other baby basics, educating the public of the ever growing need for diaper assistance and to inspire others in the community, the organization collected more than 17,000 diapers and held their first distribution Wednesday through the Sampson County Health Department.
According to Gail Lamb with the health department, diapers will continue to be distributed every Wednesday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Families are asked to pick up diapers during these times, with no appointment needed. A family can only receive diapers one time a month.
“A diaper disclosure and agreement will be given with each distribution of diapers,” Lamb said. “The diapers come to us already wrap in packs of 25 mixed with brand and generic name diapers. We have no distinction between packets of male and female diapers. There is no charge for the diapers.”
The health department, Lamb said, is looking to provide diapers through the collaboration with the Pregnancy Care Management and Care Coordination for Children programs. These programs will be screening and distributing diapers during home and community visits.
Families that participate in programs such as child support, TANF, Housing/Seciont8, unemployment, WIC, SSI, heating assistance, food stamps, SSDI, Medicaid, and children with a need for diapers can qualify for the monthly distribution.
“One pack of diapers will be given per child per month,” Lamb said. “The health department will be monitoring who receives and how many diapers are distributed monthly.”
Each pack that is distributed includes 25 diapers on the particular size needed. According to Driver, the diaper bank houses all sizes and brands of diapers, as well as Pull Ups.
“We will continue to collect diapers,” Driver said. “Diapers can be dropped off at our monthly hot spot locations that will rotate each month. We want to continue to help those who need the assistance.”
The hot spot location for October is Royal Gifts in downtown Clinton.
Wednesday’s distribution, Lamb shared, was a huge success. In all, the health department distributed a total of 16 packs of diapers.
“This was a good number,” Lamb said. “We were able to distribute about half of what we had on hand. I believe this will be huge benefit for many families.”
According Driver when interviewed before the first diaper drive, something every baby needs is diapers. On average, a newborn goes through eight to ten diapers a day, leading a parent to spend approximately $100 a month per child. This can be very expensive. Driver, along with other supporters, understand the need for assistance in purchasing the must-have item for all babies.
“Most of us don’t necessarily think of diapers when we think of poverty,” Driver said. “We normally associate poverty with things like no food, no shelter of no clothing. Diapers may not seem like a very big deal to us, but can be a large source of stress and guilt for families who simply can’t afford them.”
The idea of starting a diaper bank locally, Driver said, came after the birth of his child last year. It was during a trip to a local store that Driver says he began to realize how expensive diapers are and just how big of a struggle paying for the diapers can be.
Annie Fennell and Lamb will be working with this project as the leader staff for the health department.
“We are excited to be able to assist the with the distribution of the diapers,” Lamb said. “We agree that there is a need to assist families with diapers. The cost for diapers can be expensive for a family that is pressed financially. We see this program as a way to extend a helping hand to the community.”
For more information or to become a sponsor, visit the organization’s Facebook page or Go Fund Me page. To contact the health department, call 910-592-1131.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.