Needed: A Diaper Champion
By Dick Duerksen
“We need a diaper champion.”
I tried not to laugh, but failed.
“A who?” I asked.
“A diaper champion. Someone who will take on the challenge of creating a self-sustaining diaper distribution network for the folks in Southern Washington who live at or below the poverty level and cannot afford disposable baby diapers. Did you know that you cannot wash diapers in most laundromats? That means you have to have disposable diapers for your baby! Have you ever priced a box of disposable diapers?”
“No. Not recently,” I stammered.
“They’re more expensive than baby food!”
Then he really took off, describing the problem as a “diaper opportunity” and asking me to help him find a “Diaper Champion.”
Maury Parrish is the director of the Adventist Community Services Center (ACSC) in Battleground, Washington. Right across the street from Columbia Adventist Academy, and beside both the elementary school and the church. He’s also acting Diaper Champion.
“This all started for me,” Maury said, “when a woman walked into our community service center with her baby wrapped in towels. None of us thought anything about it until she asked for diapers. Then we learned the terrible truth and began looking for ways to fill some of our shelves with disposable diapers.”
That was in October 2017. Since then, the team has been given more than 25,000 disposable diapers and distributed over 6,500! That makes the folks at the Adventist Community Services Center the #1 diaper dudes (in diaper volume) in southwestern Washington.
“But, we need more diapers,” says Maury. “Did you know that more than 25% of the people who live in this area live at or below 185% of the national poverty level. If they’ve got babies, they need diapers and cannot afford them – diapers can cost $80-$100 per month, per child. We could give away thousands more diapers each month. We do our best, but we’re pooped! We need more diapers.”
Today, the ACSC is a “Diaper Location.” That’s a place that gives away diapers to those who need them. But, with a Diaper Champion on board they would quickly become a Diaper Pantry, and then even a Diaper Bank expanding to serve the entire community of need!
“Did you know that Huggies will bring us a full 40’ semi-trailer full of diapers when we become a Diaper Bank? All we have to do is show that we have a snug place to keep ‘em, finances to operate, and a way to distribute them fairly. A Diaper Bank. That’s our dream. We could be swimming in diapers!”
One organization has donated $4,500 toward the project, but money is actually the least of the problem. The diapers need a champion. Someone who understands the need and is eager to lead the diaper wars, fill the shelves with new diapers, and clog the aisles with moms and dads filling their carts with diapers.”
Maury and his team are working to provide about a weeks’ worth of diapers per child per month – roughly 50 diapers for a child. “We have already hit that goal for our current clients, but I want to be able to do that for our nearby community and more broadly for unmet diaper needs in Clark County.”
“This cannot be just another Flavor of the Month for donors,” says Maury, “this must become a way of life, a Diaper Bank where we can all make regular deposits.”
I’m laughing again. And calling for a Champion!
If you want to help be a diaper champion, (or just to learn more) email Maury at Maury.Parrish@gmail.com.