The Ecumenical Diaper Bank is beginning its fifth year of distributing diapers to low-income families. Again this year, Midcoast area churches will hold diaper drives from Mother’s Day, May 12, through Father’s Day, June 16. They hope to raise enough donations of funds and diapers with this annual drive to continue to supplement family supplies of diapers.
One in three U.S. mothers struggles with diaper need, and 70 percent of Maine mothers with infants are in the workforce, according to the National Diaper Bank Network. Many people don’t know that low-income assistance programs like food stamps won’t pay for diapers. People do know that not having enough diapers to change infants as often as they need increases the risk of diaper rash, infections, neglect, and worse. Since most child care centers require parents to provide a supply of disposable diapers, many parents miss days of work or school if they run short.
While the Ecumenical Diaper Bank cannot supply all of each child’s weekly diaper needs, its mission is to fill that diaper gap and enable families to change their infants and toddlers as frequently as needed to avoid health and early socialization issues. During 2018, the Ecumenical Diaper Bank gave out 13,210 diapers in packets of 15 or 20 diapers each, and it has served a total of 106 children in 90 families since it began.
Since infants quickly outgrow the need for smaller sizes, the Ecumenical Diaper Bank is especially in need of size 4 through 6 diapers. Last year, more than half (over 7,000) of the diapers given out were size 6. Cash donations are especially helpful to the Ecumenical Diaper Bank so it can buy needed sizes in bulk.
To obtain diapers for a child, families with children 0-3 years old who qualify for MaineCare or Medicaid can stop by the table at the Ecumenical Food Pantry on Tuesdays from 9:30-11 a.m. The food Pantry is located in the Fellowship Hall of the Second Congregational Church, 51 Main St., in Newcastle. For more information, contact Cathy Hopkins, 563-1668, or Sue Rockwood, 350-2256.
The following local churches support this fifth annual diaper drive and welcome the greater community’s help: Damariscotta Baptist Church, Midcoast Friends Meeting, Second Congregational Church, St. Andrews 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.