As a parent of two boys, Brett Jones remembers his diaper experiences with his wife Amy.
“They’re 18 months apart, so there was a time when they were both in diapers,” Jones said. “We could easily go through a couple hundred dollars a month on diapers alone for them.”
Things were financially tight for them, but they managed. Unfortunately, a lot of families can’t say the same.
“I know a lot families in Sampson County that aren’t so lucky,” Jones said.
As the treasurer for the Diaper Bank of Sampson County, he one of several people helping struggling parents in the areas. He’s also looking forward to Diaper Need Awareness Week. It will begin Sept. 25 and continue through Oct. 1. During that time and throughout the year, the Diaper Bank of Sampson County is seeking donations to help families.
“I’m thankful to be a part of that organization to help partially fill that void,” he said.
Pastor Thom Miles, founder of Enlighten the World Ministries, serves as the director for the program. Diapers are distributed every 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sampson County Health Department, 360 County Complex Road, Clinton. Needy families may receive the service once a month, for every child under 3 years old. Thousands of families have been helped and volunteers celebrated a milestone in June when they gave out the 100,00th diaper. Baby wipes are also distributed through the program.
“We’re helping about 200 families a month with diapers,” Miles said. “We’re hoping that it grows so that we’re able to provide more diapers. But we need support to be able to do something like that.”
Through the awareness week, Miles and other volunteers hope to encourage others to give back.Miles stressed that the importance goes along with helping people with food or other needs.
“Diapers are another necessity for impoverished families,” he said. “Poverty is growing here in our community. Thirty-two percent of our Sampson County children are living in poverty. People look around and rather if they see it or not, it’s here. We need to help these folks.”
The diaper bank began in 2015 under the leadership of Chris Driver and his wife Alison. They ran it for a little over a year with help from board members. After the birth of their second child, the couple asked Miles to take over through his ministry. Like Miles, Driver hopes to receive public donations during the week and other months.
“A lot of folks don’t realize that diapers are expensive,” Driver said. “They don’t realize the need.”
Diaper Need Awareness Week is an initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN). The goal of the organization is to help more than 5 million babies in the United States. Sampson County’s diaper bank participated for three years.
“This is just something to just drive awareness at a national level,” Driver said. “People in New York, Los Angeles, they have more organizations suited for handling things like we’re doing. In a community like ours we don’t.”
Driver appreciated the work of the NDBN for their efforts to increase awareness.
“For a national organization to shed light on that for us, it’s helps us get the donations and support that we need,” he said. “We’re proud of what we’re doing and the community assistance.”
Board member Jacqueline McDoe said the bank is really needed in Sampson County. She added that the bank is not just for needy families, but for crisis situations too.
“There are times when other people have needs in emergency situations,” McDoe said. “I think this is a good diaper bank.”
For donations, all brands and sizes are accepted, but there is a critical need for sizes 4-6. Diapers and items such as baby wipes may be dropped off at The Light House, 1776 Rowan Road, up until Nov. 1 and the law offices of Warrick, Bradshaw & Lockamy, 609 College St., Clinton. The organization is also accepting monetary donations through its website, www.diaperbankofsampsoncounty.org. For more information, contact Driver at 910-990-7436 or Miles at 910-495-4595.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.