Stuff the Bus Drive offers nearly 430,200 diapers for families in need

After a small group of women at Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church in Birmingham hosted a baby shower for a struggling single mother seven years ago, they recognized the need went far beyond just one. anybody. That simple shower led to the launch of Bundles of Hope, Birmingham’s only non-profit diaper bank.

“Some of the women in our group had recently returned from an overseas mission trip,” said Lindsay Gray, executive director of Bundles of Hope. “While helping people overseas is amazing, we realized there was missionary work all around us. “

It was then that the women decided to find a way to help moms in need in their own backyards.

“We thought, ‘What do mothers really, really need? “And the layers came on,” Gray said. “We realized that there was nothing in the community that focused on providing diapers for these moms.”

The group got to work to organize and host a diaper drive. After that first event, they knew they “were on to something,” Gray said.

Babies often use eight to ten diapers per day, which can cost up to $ 100 per month. (contributed)

Nationally, one in three families needs diapers. Additionally, babies often use eight to ten diapers per day, which can cost up to $ 100 per month. Finally, daycares require babies and toddlers to use disposable diapers, a challenge for working mothers who cannot afford them.

To meet the ongoing needs, the group formed Bundles of Hope, which has distributed more than 3 million diapers to families across Alabama since 2015.

“Alabama is one of the poorest states in the country and many families need the support we can give them,” said Gray. “Diapers are super expensive. By giving diapers to parents and caregivers, we encourage them and let them know that they are doing a great job.

On October 3, Bundles of Hope wrapped up its seventh annual Stuff the Bus Diaper Drive. During the 10-day drive, passers-by deposited 430,197 diapers, repeatedly filling a school bus parked on US Highway 280 on a gravel easement near the Target Mall. Bundles of Hope has also received monetary donations which will be used to purchase diapers, pull-ups, wipes and other basic necessities.

The Magic City Chapter of the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) helped collect items and donations for the collection, held in conjunction with National Diaper Awareness Week.

“Unfortunately, many families in the Birmingham metropolitan area cannot afford diapers for their children due to financial difficulties,” said Shenita Baker, client accounting analyst for Alabama Power and president of Magic City APSO. “Diapers can become a big expense. Bundles of Hope distributes approximately 75,000 diapers per month. The APSO Magic City Chapter is excited to partner with Bundles of Hope to help them in their efforts, support the community and be part of the change.

Southern Company environmental solutions engineer Ashley Grissom, who coordinated APSO’s participation in the project for the fourth year in a row, has a heart for these infants and toddlers. One of the women who helped organize this first baby shower, Grissom has been a Bundles of Hope volunteer from the start and is the diaper drive coordinator.

“Babies are helpless and cannot control the circumstances in which they are born,” said Grissom. “It’s a way for me to help families, especially these babies, and to give back to the community. “

Gray said Bundles of Hope is grateful to APSO for lending a helping hand in training year after year.

“Our network is only so big, so when we have the support of Alabama Power and the community, it opens up opportunities for us to reach more families and raise awareness about Bundles of Hope,” she said. declared. “The more support we receive, the more it affects more families we can serve. “

Bundles of Hope distributes diapers through more than 40 agencies and community partners, including pantries, shelters, foster homes, churches, and the Alabama Children’s Hospital. Families in need can pick up free packs of diapers and other baby supplies at the Diaper Station, the Bundles of Hope diaper distribution center in Birmingham city center.

“We pack the diapers in packs of 25, so everyone gets the same number,” said Grissom, who regularly volunteers at the change station.

Bundles of Hope also provides diapers for families hard hit by natural disasters. After Hurricane Ida, the organization sent 80,000 diapers to Feeding the Gulf Coast, which serves families in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

Collecting diapers is not a one-time effort. In September alone, Bundles of Hope partnered with churches and other groups to hold more than 70 fundraisers across the community. The organization is on track to distribute 1 million diapers in 2021.

Monetary donations are welcome. Because the organization buys wholesale from manufacturers, a dollar goes a long way, Gray said.

“At the end of the day, changing diapers is what we’re called to do,” she said. “But we do it to encourage and support families. That’s what we should be doing – helping families, whether it’s giving them food, clothes, or diapers.

For more information or to donate, visit Bundles of Hope accepts diapers in new or opened packaging, and sizes most needed are 6 and pullups.

About Harold Shirley

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