By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP
Jewish Family Service’s sixth annual Diaper Shower, which will collect diapers, wipes and adult incontinence products, hopes to beat the 2015 collection of 62,700 diapers.
“This began from a grassroots effort to help our 20-ZIP code community, a need of ours to make a difference,” said Beverly Rossel, who is co-chairing the event with Cathy Glick and Julie Liberman — a team which has led the event since its inception in 2011.
“In five years we’ve collected and given out over 192,000 diapers and many dollars, lots squashed in the hands of little children. We’ve received from b’nai mitzvah projects, from congregations, and from individuals. This shower is supported by our whole community family and we couldn’t be prouder of its success.
“For some families, it’s a decision to pay for diapers, the electric bill, or food, or so much more — the list is long and it’s not easy,” Rossel said. “This program, as well as the JFS Resale Shop and in-kind donations of food, toiletries and more, can take a person without a job through great possibilities and help them feel good about themselves. That is something we should all want to be a part of.”
From Sept. 1 to 30, donations can be delivered to the Early Childhood programs at Akiba Academy, Congregation Anshai Torah, the Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, Levine Academy and Speech Texas. Diapers can also be purchased online, and monetary donations earmarked for the cause can be sent directly to JFS (monetary gifts to JFS can also be made online).
JFS will collect and celebrate collections on-site with drop-offs and the stocking of items to the food pantry, with unopened wipes, pullups, and diapers sized infant to adult from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11.
For Rossel, Glick, and Liberman — JFS’ volunteers and true “diaper genies,” who diapered eight children among them over three decades — the memory of shopping, cleaning, and disposing is ever-present.
An urgent need
“There are families who have to use one diaper for many soilings — something most of us can’t imagine. No mother wants that for her child,” said Liberman, who was in the throes of her own daughter’s diapering needs when the threesome, who had worked with one another on other efforts, came together on a mission. “When people come to the Food Pantry, families are able to take away what they need — in terms of diaper size, wipes, whatever it might be, as long as our supply lasts.”
“I never had to choose between food and diapers but many people do and there is a huge need. Through the Diaper Shower we’re able to change that for many,” said Glick noting the first year’s collection lasted the Food Pantry clients six weeks, and the 2015 donations lasted over five months. “Last year our online diapers ordered were the majority of our intake — you don’t even have to leave home to make such an incredible difference!”
Disposable diapers can cost nearly $1,000 a year to cover the average of more than 4,000 diapers needed for just the first year of a baby’s life. While the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families, it does not cover the cost of diapers or wipes, and it is reported that one in three mothers are in need of support in providing their children with products. According to the population supported by JFS’ Food Pantry, the need is higher.
“The Diaper Shower absolutely helps us address a most basic, but so necessary, item for our families. Diapers and wipes and adult items of this sort aren’t a choice — they aren’t a ‘want,’” said Michael Fleisher, JFS’ chief executive officer.
For more information, including drop-off address details, and links to order provisions online, visit jfsdallas.org/diaperon, email Jamie Denison at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 972-994-0502.