Chris Driver and other members of the Diaper Bank of Sampson County board never imagined collecting as many diapers as they have in just six short months.
To date, the diaper bank has collected more than 35,000 diapers. With a goal of collecting an additional 75,000 in the next six months, Driver said there is no intention of slowing down.
“We are extremely pleased with the continued support of so many businesses, churches and individuals,” Driver said. “We have collected well over 35,000 diapers in just six short months and we don’t intend on slowing down.”
The board’s main goal for the first years was to collect 10,000 diapers. There was no intention to distribute diapers in the first year, but just three months after collections began, the diapers and wipes began being distributed through the Sampson County Health Department on a weekly basis.
“We are ecstatic to say, that through our partnership with the Sampson County Health Department, we have distributed 20,450 diapers and had 836 total participants in our program,” Driver added. “Distribution numbers like these are almost unheard of for rural communities like ours. We were always confidant that we would succeed, we just didn’t know this quickly. Without the support of Gail Lamb and her team at the health department, we wouldn’t be able to be making such a large difference in Sampson County. We are extremely grateful for their dedication and support.”
Driver and other members of the Diaper Bank board began collecting diapers and wipes when they realized the need for assistance to purchase these items in lower income families.
“By educating our citizens and incorporating the help of local churches and businesses, we have helped focus attention on the growing need for diaper assistance and offering hope to those families in need,” Driver shared. “We are also succeeding in proactively eliminating the unhealthy practice of recycling or reusing already soiled diapers, as well as eliminating the practice of using unsanitary items like plastic shopping bags as diapers. I know these practices sound difficult to believe, but diapers are expensive and low income families can use up to 30 percent of their income just purchasing diapers alone.”
This endeavor, Driver said, comes with costs, which he hopes the board can offset with a unique annual or biannual fundraising event. Those details are currently being worked out by Driver and others.
“Our primary goal is to begin further assisting families in our county and our neighboring counties,” Driver said. “We are constantly being contacted by parents in neighboring counties asking for assistance and we feel that extending our service area for diaper distribution should certainly be our primary goal.”
The Diaper Bank of Sampson County has partnered with local churches, businesses and civic groups and has hopes of increasing the partnerships, as requests to do such steadily come in.
“We have certainly captured the attention of larger nonprofits and we hope to have exciting news regarding a great partnership opportunity that will most certainly benefit numerous families in our county and beyond,” Driver said.
A community diaper drive will be held April 26-30 at Sweet Frog of Clinton. Those who donate diapers, wipes or make monetary donations will receive a special discount on their yogurt or ice cream purchase as a token of appreciation.
The diaper bank accepts diapers of any brand and any size.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.