Keeping a child in diapers can cost thousands of dollars a year and while every baby needs them, not every family can afford them.
Tommie Wright of Richardson learned the extent of the need while at a recent Rotary Club meeting. She says it was a lightbulb moment that sent the jewelry store associate on a mission to collect diapers and cash.
"If you can't afford diapers, you keep your child in a diaper for a long period of time. Sometimes they reuse diapers," said Wright.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"Not everybody is privileged, not everyone has a great job that they can go to," added Wright.
The donations she collects go to the Network of Community Ministries, based in Richardson. CEO Cindy Shafer says the nonprofit helped approximately 7,000 people last fiscal year with a clothing closet, food pantry and education services.
But diapers, she says, are often in short supply.
"I’ve even seen them take adult diapers because we’ve had Depends that were donated. I’ve seen them take those and try to make those work," said Shafer. "I just don’t know how you do that for a toddler. It’s just heartbreaking."
Cloth diapers aren't an affordable solution either, says Shafer. Many clients live in apartments without washers and have to spend money at laundrymats.
"It's another expense," explains Shafer.
Shafer says the diaper drive has raised nearly $10,000 in pledges, in addition to physical diapers that have been donated.
"Children didn’t ask to be in the situations that they’re in and I don’t think kids should have to worry about the adult problems their families are facing," said Shafer. "If we can just do something to make these kids’ lives as normal as possible, why shouldn’t we do that, why wouldn’t we do that?"
Wright is collecting donations at Pampillonia Jewelers at 640 North Coit Road in Richardson.
Network of Community Ministries also takes donations online.
Wright says all diaper sizes are appreciated, but emphasized the nonprofit is especially short on size 3 to 5 diapers.