The Gospel in Diapers
Diapers are a big deal at the Richland and Pasco (Wash.) churches. In some instances, people who haven't handled a diaper in years are now busy sorting, counting and bagging hundreds of diapers each month. They have become "experts" on the various brands and can tell you down to the penny how much a single diaper costs.
Why the sudden interest in diapers? It all started with a desperate request for diapers from a mother in need. Cindy Williams, a volunteer for the Pasco Adventist Community Food Bank, was so moved she asked the nearby Tri-City (Wash.) Junior Academy students to hold a diaper drive. More than 12,000 diapers were collected, and what started out as a one-time drive became a permanent organization.
Studies show that as many as one in three families have to choose to buy diapers or pay for food or rent. Many mothers are forced to wash out and reuse disposable diapers to care for their infants.
The Tri-Cities Diaper Bank, a division of the Adventist Community Services staffed by church members, is the first agency of its kind in the area. Pacific Mobile donated temporary storage at the Pasco Church, and there is now a second distribution center at the Richland Church. More than 25,000 diapers have been distributed in the past year.
Enthusiasm for this faith-based ministry is spreading through the community. Chico's clothing boutique offered up to 50 percent off for customers bringing in a pack of diapers. The Pasco Chapter of MOMS International collected 2,000 diapers, and the Jason Lee Elementary School held a diaper drive this fall. The Tri-City Herald featured several articles about the diaper bank, which were picked up by newspapers from as far away as Seattle, Wash., and Bellingham, Wash.
Operating the Diaper Bank has generated new outreach opportunities for both churches to connect with community organizations as well as community members. More information is available at www.tricitiesdiaperbank.org.