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Saturday, September 26: Pack-the-Truck Diaper Drive.

Help Evanston's Bundled Blessings diaper pantry collect 20,000 diapers for those in need. All diaper sizes welcome.

The event will be outside with social-distancing protocols followed. See flyer for details. If you can't make the event but want to contribute, check out Bundled Blessings Amazon wishlist here. Bundled Blessings has been housed at First United Methodist Church of Evanston since 2013, and is co-chaired by Nancy Brown and Sue Hagedorn.

According to the National Diaper Bank Network:

-- One in three families suffers from diaper need.

-- An infant uses up to 12 diapers a day.

-- Neither federal nor state subsidy programs (like WIC or SNAP) cover the cost of diapers.

-- Disposable diapers are required by childcare agencies.

-- Soiled diapers that are not changed present a health risk for the child and elevate stress for parents.

Bundled Blessings works with 11 agencies and serves 500 children each month. On diaper pickup day, the agencies come to the church building to pick up a diaper order filled by Bundled Blessings, and in turn, distribute the diapers to families.

How does a pandemic affect diaper need?

It makes everything harder — for the families, for the social service agencies that serve the families, and for diaper pantries working to meet the “diaper gap” that so many families face.

Xiomara Alfaro of the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Family Center, one of Bundled Blessings' partner agencies, reports that many of the parents her agency works with either had their work hours cut or lost their jobs entirely and are struggling to provide for their children.

Deepa Mehta, Head Start Director at the CNE - Childcare Network of Evanston, another partner agency, notes that many of their families, during non-Covid times, sent children to a childcare center that provided diapers, and that when that childcare center shut down these families experienced higher diaper need along with a significant income cut.

“You can stretch the food budget and eat a lot of PB and J, but you can’t cut down on clean diapers,” says Sue Hagedorn.

Keeping one child clean and dry can cost as much as $90 a month.

Nancy Mendoza of Family Focus Evanston, a third agency that partners with Bundled Blessings, says the financial hardship on families during the pandemic has created even more stress on already stretched households. The monthly diapers from Bundled Blessings help alleviate some of that stress.

Covid-19 has been hard on Bundled Blessings' agency partners as well. Like schools and churches and businesses, social service agencies shut down initially and then slowly began to reopen with modified approaches to working with families. All but one of BB’s partners came up with a workaround to get diapers to families in need every month. Many were distributing the monthly diapers in a parking lot. Sadly, one of the agencies is still closed.

In late April, First Church's Pastor Grace Imathiu declared Bundled Blessings “essential” and allowed the operation to return to the church building, provided strict safety protocols were followed.

With creative problem solving and great persistence, pantry leaders and volunteers have cleared hurdle after hurdle to continue collecting and distributing diapers.

Please support this entirely volunteer-run effort to provide diapers to families with young children during these challenging times.


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