Outside CA

Strangers Helping Strangers with Diapers

A kind act happened recently at a Walmart in Loveland.

While a young couple was counting their money to see if they had enough to pay for diapers for their young daughter, another couple who were strangers offered to pay for them. The strangers paid for the diapers and everything in the cart, explaining that people have helped them and they were just paying it forward.

This random act of kindness and help from strangers prompted the young couple to share this story with the local news in hopes of spreading the word. A simple gesture can mean so much to other people, so let’s pay it forward!

Have you paid it forward? Or experienced a pay it forward moment?

Diaper Stories: School Kicks Off Diaper Drive With a Jingle

Candeo School in Phoenix, Arizona recently kicked off a school-wide diaper drive.  They support their local agency, Baby Diaper Drive, which holds an annual effort with the goal of collect 200,000 diapers and money to fund an emergency diaper stash for Homeward Bound, which supports underemployed and homeless parents and children. Local schools compete to see which one can collect the most diapers, and the one that wins gets a prize!

With a little bit of elbow grease and a school community full of eager kids and parents, this diaper drive will help BDD reach their goal in no time! The best part of their kickoff event, below, is at 2:10, when the whole school sings their little diaper drive jingle.

Help Send Diapers To Hurricane Sandy Victims

Lots of people have been asking us how they can help families with babies and toddlers in the North East who may be running out of clean diapers after Hurricane Sandy.  Now we have something we can recommend.

Diapers.com has partnered with nonprofits on the ground in the area like The American Red Cross and the Jersey Humane Society to send supplies to the hardest hit families.  You can help by sending financial donations through a specific section of their site, diapers.com/sandy.  Select a dollar amount, and that money will be used to buy essentials like diapers, baby food, formula, and clothing for families in storm-ravaged areas.  There is no shipping fee.

Remember, you might not be able to do everything.  But you can do something.  And every little bit helps.

Who We Serve

Since inception we’ve distributed diapers to a number of organizations in California and elsewhere in the U.S.  Between January, 2011 and January, 2012 we served families through the following agencies. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this happen! Special thanks go to our friends at Huggies Every Little Bottom and St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County. 

Southern California

  • Ascencia (LA County)
  • Building a Generation (Inland Empire)
  • LA Diaper Drive (LA County)
  • Salvation Army,East Los Angeles Community Center (LA County)
  • Bayside Community Center (San Diego County)

Northern California

Alameda & Contra Costa Counties

  • Brighter Beginnings
  • Center for the Vulnerable Child (Children’s Hospital of Oakland)
  • Oakland Early Head Start
  • St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County (West Oakland Women’s Center)
  • Operation Shower
  • Prenatal Care Guidance (PCG), a program of the Contra Costa Public Health Dept.
  • Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center (WDDC)

Monterey County

  • Monterey County Association of Families Caring for Children

San Francisco County

  • Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP)
  • Bayview Mission
  • APA Family Support Services (APA)

San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties

  • Baby Basics of the Peninsula
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford (Social Services)
  • Star Vista (formerly YFES)
  • Creation Home Ministries
  • West Valley Community Services
  • City Team Ministries, San Jose
  • EHC Lifebuilders

Diaper Bank Partners: @DCDiaperBank Washington D.C. #hamo

This is the story of our newest partner the DC Diaper Bank as told by Corinne Cannon, founder and Executive Director of the DC Diaper Bank.

In October 2009 my husband Jay and I welcomed our first baby, a beautiful boy named Jack who turned out to be the world’s worst baby. Colicky, restless, high needs, call it what you will, he was awful! I distinctly remember sitting up with him one night/morning at 5am rocking him as he cried and thinking, “how do you do this if you don’t have enough money and family support?” Here I was with a ton of support — grandparents and aunts and uncles, a wonderful partner who was a 100% parent, and we were financially secure — and yet I still had days where I just couldn’t believe how hard it was.

I began to think about other mothers and about how I could help make raising an infant easier for people who lacked support. Then I began to research — I found out that diapers, something it seemed like we were buying all the time for Jack, weren’t covered by food stamps. I learned about the Diaper Bank in Connecticut and the one in Southern Arizona, and I saw an ad for the Huggies Every Little Bottom Campaign. I decided I would volunteer at the diaper bank in our area — it would become our charity of choice and we’d be helping mothers in a very tangible way. But then I found out there was no diaper bank in DC or Maryland or Virginia, or even Delaware or West Virginia.

I began to call non-profits who worked with mothers in DC and asked if they needed diapers for their clients and if so how they got them. The answers were striking and sad — one organization told me diapers were their number one need; another quickly rattled off the sizes they were most in need of. I decided after those phone calls to start a diaper bank — and we’ve been moving forward ever since. The response has been amazing! Dozens of diaper drives, donations from near and far, emails of support and thank you from strangers, and lots and lots of diapers! We have been lucky to partner with the Capital Area Food Bank, the largest food bank in the metro area, for storage and distribution of the diapers we collect. Initially we are working with eight social service organizations in DC, MD, and VA and are hoping to expand to more soon. The response from the organizations has been tremendous — diapers are a resource that they are always in need of. We feel strongly about providing diapers to organizations to use in ways that will best serve their clients – some organizations are food pantries and provide diapers as an emergency supply; others distribute them as an incentive for attendance at parenting classes; one low-income daycare uses them in their center.

I never intended to start a non-profit, but the need was too great to not do something and I knew this was a small piece of the puzzle that I could impact. I find that the “needs” in our community can be daunting to the point of paralysis sometimes — how do we tackle entrenched poverty? How do we build a society that values children and women? How do we create a social safety net that supports and propels families toward real self-sufficiency and stability? How do we all come to a place of truly understanding that things like food and shelter and diapers (and tampons and soap….) are not luxury items but basic necessities that no one should go without? I don’t know the answers to all of those questions, but I do know that it starts with simple, tangible, daily action.

Our mission statement, which some people have told us is far too grand for an organization that provides diapers, is about thinking about the issue of need in our community as something we all can and should impact — start small and build. Small individual actions like talking about child poverty; sharing a link about the issue; donating a pack of diapers or a few dollars; being an informed member of the community who asks questions about how new legislation or policies will impact those who are least able to ask that question for themselves; being a voice. Larger collective actions include large-scale diaper drives in neighborhoods, at businesses and day cares, and volunteering with others on the issue of poverty. The DC Diaper Bank does some of all of these things every day with the idea and the faith that if more people know and understand the needs and how to help alleviate the need in the short term, as well as address the issues long term through policy and paradigm changes, we will get to the place where families have all they need to thrive.

When I began this someone told me that it was pointless, that a clean diaper only helped a baby in the short term. They aren’t wrong: one clean diaper doesn’t solve the issue of infant and child poverty. But this person had probably never spent any time with a crying baby! One clean diaper does improve the short term, and the short term can build the long term for a child. I was amazed by some of the research that showed just what kind of an effect something as simple as a regular supply of clean diapers can have on an entire family unit – babies are happier and healthier, which means parents are less stressed and are able to focus their resources more on strengthening their family.

DC, like many communities, is facing a lot of financial challenges, and due to the recession social services have been hit hard. Before we founded the DC Diaper Bank, organizations that worked with families relied on unexpected diaper donations, or sometimes were able to devote some “extra” funds to diaper purchases in a given month. There was no steady supply of diapers for any of these organizations. We’re hoping to become that reliable source for many of these area organizations, and allow them to more effectively serve their clients. This is the biggest response we have gotten from the other organizations – they are grateful to have a steady supply of something that, for one, is a constant need for many of their clients, and for another, is something that many donors do not immediately think of when they are putting together a charitable donation. Most people think canned or packaged food for a shelter or a food pantry, not packaged diapers. Our biggest challenge now is going to be to keep up the supply to match the ever-increasing demand.

Our goal is to one day “be out of business.” The large questions come looming back — how do you change food stamp policies? How do we provide for all in our society? How do we ensure every child, and every parent, has a fair chance to succeed? I think that the answer to all these questions, and the key to making the need for DC Diaper Bank and Help a Mother Out obsolete, lies in increasing understanding around these isues so that whole cities and states are compelled to act. Start small and build. There is a quote from Mother Teresa that I have above my computer that propels me forward each day: “Do not wait for leaders. Do it alone, person to person.” A speech won’t get us there — talking, questioning, teaching, and showing will. The speech comes at the end.

In just nine short months, we have put together an organization that I am truly proud of. We have a lot of work left to do, but it is heartening to hear from our partner organizations, who tell us that our diapers are out there right now, making lives better for babies and families all over our community.

To find out more about the DC Diaper Bank check them out here, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Corinne tells me that Jack, that colicky baby, is now the most joyous and fun toddler.

SoCal: #BlogHer11 Virtual Diaper Drive #hamo

This coming week some of the team will be at BlogHer ’11.

In case you haven’t heard, we’re hosting a service project to coincide with the conference, in hopes of raising much needed diaper funds we’d like to raise to benefit our Southern California families. Specifically, we have three agencies located in San Diego, Inland Empire, and east Los Angeles, who are currently on the waiting list to receive diapers.

Whether you are attending the conference or not, you can help us make a difference.

Bonus: We’re giving away an iPad, generously donated by our friends at Momversation, to one lucky online donor. And as of this writing, your chances look really good to win!

How you can help:

Spread the word about our virtual diaper drive. Official rules and more good stuff can be found via our event page.

Your online gift of $10 or more enters you to our iPad giveaway contest. Go ahead, click the BLUE button and help a mother out!

Tucson: Diaper Bank Beginnings

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with Hildy Gottlieb and Dimitri Petropolis, founders of the nation’s first Diaper Bank, Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona formerly known as the Community Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. I can only attempt to capture the enthusiasm and energy that they radiated in that meeting. Dimitri and Hildy are truly inspirational and it was an honor to have so much of their time. This is the first of several blog posts based upon the meeting.

It really is quite an ordinary strip mall office in mid-town Tucson. I’ve driven past it a thousand times and not given it a second thought. However, for the past 17 years or so the ideas hatching in that office have been far from ordinary and have had an extraordinary impact not only on the Tucson community, but communities across the country.

In 1994 the office was a realty business recently purchased by Hildy and Dimitri. Wanting to get back to the work that made a difference in the community, Hildy and Dimitri added consulting with local Native American tribes in sustainable, non-gaming development to their work. Nowhere in their business plan were diapers mentioned. Their work with diapers was not planned, just a bit of holiday giving gone wildly and wonderfully astray.

A couple days before Thanksgiving one of the staff members suggested that a donation of diapers to Casa de los Ninos, a local safe haven for children, might be a nice idea for the office’s charitable holiday donation. A week or so later that simple office donation had expanded into a diaper drive and then something much bigger. Rather than the typical exchanging of goods with their local business partners and fellow realtors Hildy and Dimitri sent out a message via their holiday card,

“Don’t give us _______. Give us a diaper.”

A little bit unorthodox, a little bit silly, but their partners and fellow realtors took to it and the diapers began to roll in. What if, they thought, we were to get a radio station in on this? Perhaps we could make it bigger still. They faxed all the local radio stations. Stone cold silence from most, a snicker from one, and then a peep, morning DJ Bobby Rich, at what was then Cloud FM, now MIX FM, called to say that this sounded like a good fit with Cloud. This sort of drive-by event wasn’t common back in ’94, but Bobby and his crew set up their equipment outside this small midtown office in the wee hours of the morning so that they could do the morning show and a diaper drive. It should be noted that 3 am in Tucson in December is cold, very cold, below freezing cold, so this was no small commitment. At the end of the first broadcast Bobby said “We’re in this for the long haul.” He meant it. Seventeen years later Bobby still does the diaper drive every December.

Hildy and Dimitri, along with their staff and Bobby Rich, collected over twenty thousand diapers that first drive in 1994. As the diapers rolled in so did the stories of impact. It became clear to Hildy and Dimitri that helping with this one basic need had a positive ripple effect: A parent may have received help with housing and job training, but if they have very young children they are often unable to take advantage of their job training; they can’t afford the disposable diapers that they have to leave at the childcare facility while they work. The inability to take an offered job is a devastating loss to families who are working hard to get back on their feet. The social safety net has a big gaping hole in it and its name is diapers. Help diaper a child and help a family escape poverty.

Next time: A Diaper Bank is Born and Lessons in Compassion


Photo courtesy of Creating the Future

Tucson Swap-O-Rama 3/12

Are you in the Tucson area the weekend of March 12th? Yes? Alrighty then. Get whatever gizmo you use to keep track of all that scheduling and type/write this down:

Saturday, March 12th
10am – 12pm
A Children’s Clothing Exchange and Diaper Drive

to benefit
Diaper Bank of Arizona.

Geneva Hall, St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church
3809 East 3rd St.

Check out the Eventbrite page or the facebook page for the important details.

HAMO- AZ is partnering with a local preschool, St. Marks, to raise awareness and diapers, and to have a whole lot of fun. The event is inspired by the Tucson Mama Kid’s Clothing Swap of 2009. I should also mention that the Tucson Mama’s exchange inspired the Bay Area folk of Help a Mother Out last February to do the same thing to great success. Additional bonus: Tucson Mama is going to be joining us at Swap-O-Rama to lend her support and her cool factor to the whole shebang. I’m also excited to add that a wonderful local photographer, Melissa Haun, who has been a fabulous supporter in the past of our diaper drives, has volunteered her services to document the event.

Those from outside Tucson wondering on how you can get in on the whole cool diaper drive action? Check out Help A Mother Out’s suggestions here.

Photo courtesy of Julie Michelle

Learn, Knit, Give

Inspired by the event that started it all, the Tucson contingent of Help A Mother Out organized a Learn-to-Knit Party Fundraiser for the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona.

On a warm May day in Tucson (most of them are) a motley, but enthusiastic group gathered to try their hand at this time honored craft. Our regional non-profit hospital, Tucson Medical Center, provided not only a fine setting, but also the yarn and needles meaning all donations went to the Diaper Bank.

Along with enough donations to purchase 2,700 size 4 diapers, a whole bunch of awareness, ideas and volunteers for future events were raised as a result of this event.
In the works as a direct result of this event:

A learn-to-crochet party for Fall
A karaoke party (one pack of diapers to enter, another if you refuse to sing)
Diaper drives at local schools and university departments
Diaper drive at Cinema La Placita

Along with TMC’s support, the following generously supplied fabulous door prizes:
Velvet Glass
Kiwi Knitting
Sparkle and Charm
Hillary Rosenfeld LMT
Erin Debenport

Many thanks all!

Mother’s Day Call To Action

Can you imagine not having enough diapers for your baby?  Did you know that diapers are not covered under safety net programs like food stamps or WIC? For many families in crisis this can mean being forced to choose between affording other basic human needs — shelter, food, medicine, or diapers. Until we started Help A Mother Out, we didn’t know any of this. We’re working to help improve the lives of mothers, children, and families, one diaper at a time. Won’t you join us?

This year Mother’s Day is on May 9th. We’ll be celebrating the entire month of May both by raising diapers and awareness of this basic human need.

Your Call To Action:

ATTEND one of our sponsored events (check back frequently as we add more cities to this roster).


Outside California:

COLLECT diapers* at your school, work, community group, or place of worship.


PASS IT ON: Talk about this issue with others. No mother should have to choose between food or diapers for her baby.

*Be sure to report back to us on your May diaper collection efforts…we want to hear about it! Post a comment HERE or email us info at helpamotherout.org.

Swell magenta HAMO Mother’s Day, 2010 campaign button designed by Kate at Jet Kat Design. Thanks Kate!

Click here for press release (4/20/10)

Do I have an Opportunity for You! {Plus Book Giveaway}

A few years back I found myself sitting next to a fellow University employee on an airplane bound for some cold Mid-western city.

“So what do you do for the University?” I asked.

“I’m in development.” said he.

Not knowing any better I assumed he meant some sort of international studies program, but no, he meant fundraising.

“So you ask people for money?”

“No, I offer opportunities.”

Apparently development is all about opportunities. Opportunities to connect, opportunities to educate and be educated, opportunities to share your love of learning and tell your ungrateful children that they’re out of luck when it comes that ton of money you’ve stashed away in Swiss bank accounts.  I think the development folks are on to something.

I don’t have any money stashed away in Swiss bank accounts, but I have a healthy dose of passion concerning the injustices to the most vulnerable among us and perhaps a little verbal diarrhea. Microphilanthropy, of the sort Help A Mother Out is involved in, is putting such qualities to good use.

A couple of weeks ago I challenged my friends on Facebook in Help A Mother Out style. My daughter had garnered $150 in pledges for her first philanthropic event, Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona’sfirst Stroll & Roll. Could my friends help me match my daughter’s pledges?

In one week, after daily Facebook status updates on the state of the challenge and a promise/threat to wear a bumblebee outfit in broad daylight in a highly public place, we had raised over $400, and if the rest of the pledges come in, nearly $500. Now, my friends don’t have a bunch of money, but $10 here and $5 there, adds up.  At the end of the challenge week and after the Stroll & Roll I posted the picture my daughter and I in our costumes to Facebook so they could all have a good laugh. The $400 will cover one baby’s bottom in a healthy change of diapers for four months. It isn’t huge in the grand scheme of things, but to some family or families out there $400+ worth of diapers is going to make a huge difference. I wasn’t so much asking for money as giving my friends the opportunity to take part in a competition and have a bit of a laugh at my expense and all using Facebook.

In a similar manner, my friend Julie over at TucsonMama threw together what we hope will be the first in a biannual  kids’ clothing exchange at a local Tucson art gallery. The admittance to the exchange, five items of clean, nice kids’ clothing, and something for the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. In return participants had opportunity to enjoy a few mimosas and some snackages, pick out some ‘new to them’ kid clothes, partake in some cool conversation with friends and newly found friends and all the while helping the Diaper Bank. This isn’t asking people for money, or even donations, it is providing opportunities.

With this in mind I’d like to ask what is the most engaging micro-philanthropic event you’ve been involved in? How did it raise awareness and response? What was the opportunity offered? Please leave a comment with the details.

Book Giveaway: Max and the Diaper Fairy

Given the general gist of this post it is only fitting that it be paired with an opportunity, not only to impart your wisdom, but also to win a signed copy of the new bookMax and the Diaper Fairy by Melissa Hart. It is a sweet picture book about potty training a reluctant toddler. Contained within its pages not only a message about potty training, but also a message about supporting diaper banks.  So get those comments rolling, it can be something really small.

Tucson Mamas! Come out for Stroll and Roll!

This is a cross post from our gal Rachel M. who also contributes over at Tucson Mama. If you are local, join the Tucson Mama/Help A Mother Out group and stroll together! RSVP via Facebook or by contacting Rachel M. directly.

We have a soft spot for the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona here at Tucson Mama. This is an amazing organization addressing a need that our social safety net does not. Diapers, wipes, sanitary pads and tampons are not luxury items and the demand is ever higher for them as more Tucson families feel the pinch. With this in mind mark your calendar on November 14th for a fun event:

Pop your child (or children) in the carrier or pram, put on a pair of sneakers and join us for a 2 mile stroll around Reid Park to benefit the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona.

The Diaper Bank’s First Annual Stroll & Roll starts with registration at 8am (Reid Park Ramada 31 – near Hi Corbett Field) and the walk begins at 9am. There will be refreshments, live music and family fun after the walk. Get this, registered walkers will get into Reid Park Zoo for free!

If you’re interested in being part of a Tucsonmama/Help A Mother Out Team let me know via diaperdrive at gmail dot com or my regular email if you know that
Registration is $25 for each adult and $5 for each child over three. Each participant (adult & child) will receive a free t-shirt if registered by October 30th.

Tucson Mama Sidekick – Rachel M.

The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona is one of our diaper bank network partners. You can also donate diapers directly online via theirAmazon.com wishlist.

Hellooooo, Tucson!

We’re thrilled to have provided inspiration for TucsonMama’s Mother’s Day donation drive to benefit the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, the nation’s first diaper bank. TucsonMama is a great resource for Tuscon-area parents, dishing up hot tips on local goings-on and offering a forum for networking and support.

We heart TucsonMama and hope their drive is a resounding success. Send some love their way!

A special thanks and dorky high-five to Tucson mama and friend o’ mine Rachel M., who’s orchestrating this drive all the way from Florence, Italy.