Diapering Detroit 2015

Bring Your Diapers and Fill the Other Side of the St. John’s Bus

There was a lady in Detroit called the Diaper Lady. Marybeth recognized a need and created a solution in 2009 by starting the Detroit Area Diaper Bank. She was motivated by stories of low income families stealing or reusing diapers. She heard stories of desperate moms and dads sending their children to pre-school wearing plastic grocery bags when their supply of diapers ran out. She found out WIC, food stamps or Medicare do not help with this. The implications are far reaching: 1. parents cannot leave children at daycare without diapers. So If they can’t afford diapers, they can’t go to school and a vicious cycle of poverty continues. 2. A child crying uncontrollably by being in the same diaper too long leads to a greater risk of abuse, in an already stressed household.3. Seniors can’t afford incontinence supplies and become housebound, creating pressure on programs like meals on wheels. Because her family relocated Marybeth had to move. An agency called Starfish Family Services has stepped up and agreed to store and distribute the diapers to Detroit as in-kind gift offerings by youth gathering attendees.

Women of the ELCA groups are invited to join ELCA youth in collecting diapers for their in-kind gifts to Detroit. Connect with young people in your congregation who are going to the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering to find out how you can help. Perhaps a gift for money would be easier for the youth to carry. If so, diapers could be bought in Detroit to help the economy. If your congregation is not sending youth to the gathering, you might connect with a gathering synod coordinator to find a congregation near you that is. At the request of youth in your congregation you can make a check out to Women of the ELCA with Youth Gathering-diapers in the memo line to ELCA Gift Processing Center, PO Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116-8009. You can also ship the diapers directly to Immanuel Lutheran Church, 13031 Chandler Park Dr., Detroit, Michigan 48213.

Collecting, sorting and delivering diapers are among the service projects young people attending the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering will participate in. Diapers will be collected at the 150-plus hotels where the youth will stay. On their service day, young people will load the diapers into trailers that will be hauled by local volunteers to the Starfish Family Services Building. ELCA Youth will unload the diapers into the Starfish Facility, take inventory, and organize them by size. The greatest need is for children’s sizes 3&4, but all sizes will be appreciated, including incontinence supplies for adults. Wipes are also needed.

The youth gathering staff is grateful to the Women of the ELCA for supporting youth as they strive to leave a legacy of service and generosity in Jesus’ name in Detroit this summer. (Heidi Hagstrom, Director of Youth Gathering.)

In Southern Ohio, I would love to encourage every church to participate in this. Per above there are several options. If you chose to send a check to the women of the ELCA as mentioned above, they will purchase the diapers. Please reference (6F) for our synod so we will know the scope of our generosity. You could also send them with your youth if they are taking a bus and have the room. I will be going and if you are more comfortable collecting gift cards, I will gladly take them to Detroit and purchase the diapers for you. Send me an email (rbk013@gmail.com) and we can arrange a connection for collection.

Thank you ahead of time for your generosity to Detroit.

Robin Kaelin, President of the South Ohio Women of the ELCA