The Ecumenical Diaper Bank is beginning its third year of distributing diapers to low-income families. This year, from Mother’s Day, on Sunday, May 14, through Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18, Midcoast-area churches will hold diaper drives. They hope to raise enough funds and diapers with this annual drive to continue to supplement family supplies of diapers for the coming year.
While the Ecumenical Diaper Bank cannot supply all of each child’s weekly diaper needs, its mission is to enable families to change their infants and toddlers as frequently as needed to avoid health and early socialization issues. As of January 2017, the diaper bank served 68 families with 78 children, giving out an average of 12 packets of diapers, helping 12 infants and toddlers per week. If the current need for low-income families remains steady, the Ecumenical Diaper Bank expects it will distribute close to 10,000 diapers in the year ahead.
Diaper need puts children and families at risk. According to the National Diaper Bank, 65 percent of Maine mothers with infants are in the workforce. Not having enough diapers to change infants as often as they need increases the risk of diaper rash, infections, neglect, and worse. Families who do not have enough diapers cannot enroll their children in many day-care centers, making it hard for them to seek work or go to school. And low-income assistance programs like food stamps do not pay for diapers. That is a lot of stress.
To obtain diapers for a child, families with infants 0–3 years old who qualify for Maine-Care or Medicaid can stop by the Ecumenical Food Pantry on Tuesdays from 9:30-11 a.m. The Ecumenical Food Pantry is located in the fellowship hall of the Second Congregational Church, 51 Main St., Newcastle. For more information, contact Cathy Hopkins at 563-1668 or Sue Rockwood at 350-2256.
The following local churches support this third annual diaper drive and welcome the greater community’s help: Damariscotta Baptist Church, Midcoast Friends Meeting, New Harbor and Round Pond United Methodist churches, Second Congregational Church, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, and Water of Life Lutheran Church. Bags of diapers, cash donations, and checks made out to Damariscotta Baptist Church with “Diaper drive” on the memo line can be brought to any of the participating churches. Checks made out to Damariscotta Baptist Church with “Diaper drive” may also be mailed to the Diaper Drive Project, c/o Midcoast Friends Meeting,, P.O. Box 714, Damariscotta, ME 04543.