1 in 4 children in Genesee County lives in poverty and their families struggle to provide diapers.
As a brand new mother, it’s terrifying to bring home a new baby knowing that you’re on your own. The nurses have given you a few pep talks and some hospital freebies. The doctor has cleared you to move around, but reminds you not to overdo it. The pediatrician now assigned to your child says, “See you in a week!” You grab your hospital bag (assuming you had time to pack one), strap the new love of your life into an unfamiliar, awkward car seat (“did I even do that right?”) and set out to begin a new chapter called parenting. Now what? If you’re lucky, you have a support system waiting with open arms to offer words of encouragement, a pre-made meal, or the generous gift of time so you can take a shower or snag a nap while they snuggle your little, exhausting bundle of joy.
Many new mothers have a partner or significant other to help navigate this brave new world with, but the unfortunate reality is, many women right here in our community don’t have a village to lean on. They are single mothers living without family nearby. They are teen moms forced to grow up too quickly because pregnancy can and does happen after “just one time”. They are women who desperately want a child, even though it’s been really difficult to hang on to a stable job. They are committed, seasoned mothers putting in long hours to maintain a household with several kids and now need to stretch their resources even more for the newest family member.
They need you. WE are the village.
In Genesee County alone, 4,500 children under the age of three live below the poverty line. Take a moment to imagine what that’s like. Picture having to choose between food or electricity, between gas money or winter boots, between diapers or a bus fare. Because state and federal assistance can’t be used to buy diapers, many babies have no choice but to sit in a dirty diaper for days at a time. It’s a heart-breaking reality and a decision no parent should ever have to face. We can help change the course. Each child deserves the same chance as any other, regardless of the financial situation they are born into. Each mother deserves to feel empowered rather than shamed, despite the challenges they face.
You can help make a very real, tangible difference.
For the past decade, the ABC12 Diaper Drive has grown into a vital resource that provides diapers for area families in need. Your donation stays in Genesee County and just $1 can buy 8 diapers at cost thanks to a partnership with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. Of the 4,500 children in need, the effort has reached 3,200 of them. That’s 71%. Your small act of kindness supplies mothers with diapers, but it goes far beyond that. Having the support of a village during such a vulnerable time in their lives translates to hope, to gratitude and to a sense that “it’s going to be okay”. As an employee of ABC12, I’ve seen the impact first-hand. It turns them into the kind of community conscious person who later shows up to donate to other families, sharing their own emotional stories of how they used to be on the receiving end of the generosity. The commitment to give back comes full circle and it’s a beautiful thing.
This is a call to action, these mothers need you. It could be your neighbor, the cashier at the grocery store, the mother at your preschool, the woman you see at church every Sunday. Together, let’s dig deep and commit to being the village they need to change babies. Every dollar helps, every penny helps. The annual effort helps provide more than 1 million diapers to local babies every year.
The community wide ABC12 ELGA Credit Union Diaper Drive is June 1, 2018 and will last for 12 hours rain or shine from 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Donations can be made in person throughout the day at the ELGA location at 2303 Center Rd in Burton or anytime online. A phone bank will also be activated during the event for call-in donations at 810-600-4404. In 2017, the event raised a record $101,892.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~Aesop~