A person may be more inclined to think of diapers as a nuisance, but in fact they are a need and, for many in Kalamazoo, an unmet need. Jax Gardner, departmental coordinator for history and social sciences at Kalamazoo College, is working to address that need through her other coordinator role: that of managing the St. Luke’s Community Diaper Drive.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, with support from the Arcus Center for Social Justice at Kalamazoo College, is holding a community diaper drive through October 14.
For low-income families, purchasing diapers can be a challenge. SNAP and WIC benefits do not provide diapers, and adequately providing diapers for a child can cost more than a $1,000 per year.
“More than one in three Kalamazoo families struggle to provide adequate diapers for their children,” Jax said. “It’s an unconscionable gap in how we care for the young children of our community because diaper need can affect maternal/child bonding, childcare accessibility, and infant health.”
The drive is collecting disposable diapers in all sizes, along with wipes and creams; all donated items will be distributed through local charitable organizations including Loaves and Fishes, Ministry with Community, the YWCA and St. Barnabas Diapers.
Financial donations can be made payable to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, with “Diaper Drive” in the memo line, which will be used to wholesale purchase diapers in needed sizes.
Donations can be made at the following locations:
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 247 W. Lovell St.
St. Luke’s Thrift Shop, 432 S. Burdick St.
Kalamazoo College (1200 Academy Street) at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, the Hicks Student Center and Dewing Hall.
“We hope that this drive will generate interest and conversation toward addressing diaper need in Kalamazoo with a long-term, sustainable plan,” Jax said.