The Diaper Bank of Sampson County has assisted nearly 450 individuals through a partnership with the Sampson County Health Department, and plans to continue helping as many more individuals as possible.
According to Chris Driver, one of the organizers of the bank, as of Wednesday, Jan. 27, the diaper bank has collected almost 25,000 diapers since the organization began collecting diapers in July 2015. Driver said 10,880 diapers and nearly 200 packs of diaper wipes have been distributed since distribution began in October.
“As you can tell, we have been extremely blessed and successful in a very short period of time,” Driver said.
Efforts to collect additional diapers will continue this weekend, Driver shared, with a drive scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at all Piggly Wiggly locations around Clinton. This drive was made possible through one of the Illuminate youth projects. Driver said the bank is in need of all sizes of diapers, and all brands are accepted. Monetary donations are accepted as well.
“We first started collecting diapers in July of 2015,” Driver shared. “Our total goal for 2015 was to simply collect 10,000 diapers and not even begin supplying any existing community agencies with diapers for distribution. Due to overwhelming support from our community, we were able to begin distributing diapers earlier than anticipated.”
The Sampson County Health Department distributes those diapers every Wednesday from 12-1 p.m. at the county complex location. Families are asked to pick up diapers during these times, with no appointment needed. A family can only receive diapers one time a month.
Diapers are wrapped in packs of 25, mixed with brand name and generic diapers.
The health department, according to Gail Lamb, 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.”
In the six months since the health department began distributing, Driver said the organization has been able to assist 444 participants and the numbers grow weekly.
“It’s extremely gratifying to know that we have taken an often overlooked need and not only made the general public aware of the growing need, but to also make a difference in the lives of parents and children alike,” Driver shared.
Before the local organization was established, Driver said no federal, state or local agencies or safety net programs assisted families in need with diapers or other baby essentials. Through the diaper bank, Driver said the organization and its supporters hope to assist even more families in 2016 and even obtain funding to assist families in Sampson and surrounding counties.
“Words cannot express our sincere appreciation to our corporate sponsors, local churches, civic groups and the community as a whole,” Driver said. “We wouldn’t be here making a difference without their support.
Through the efforts of the community, Driver said he feels the diaper bank will continue to be a huge success and benefit many people in need in Sampson County.
“We are all familiar with statement that it takes a village to raise a child,” he continued. “I know of no other statement that is more accurate or appropriate. We owe it to our children, the future of our community, to make sacrifices and ensure the healthy growth of every single child that needs our help. Regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of their parents financial situation, all children matter and its up to us to offer help and hope.”
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.
For those interested in more information or making a donation, contact Driver at 910-990-7436.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.