By Deb Silverthorn
Pricing for everything has gone up. Some items, like diapers and wipes — for all ages and stages — aren’t a want, they are a need. Jewish Family Service (JFS) aims to ensure that those in need will be able to obtain these supplies through its 12th Annual Diaper Shower drive, which runs throughout the month of October.
“Parents are struggling more than ever to afford diapers and wipes for their babies. Inflation is hitting everyone — across the board — especially those who are already living outside of their means,” said Cathy Barker, JFS president and CEO. “There is nothing as invaluable as unwavering support and we are grateful for those in the community who can assist with donations.”
In the last 11 years, more than 1,338,000 diapers and wipes have been distributed throughout the community. Last month alone, diapers were given to 146 children under the age of 2.
Always in need of more, the drive’s co-chairs are grateful for every order made, every item delivered during business hours to JFS or any partner site: Akiba Yavneh Academy, Ann & Nate Levine Academy, Congregation Anshai Torah, Congregation Shearith Israel, Goldberg Family ECC at the Aaron Family JCC or Speech TX.
Items can be ordered through JFS’ Amazon Wish List at tinyurl.com/JFS-Diaper-Shower-Wish-List or other online retailers and mailed to Jewish Family Service (5402 Arapaho Road, Dallas, TX 75248). Monetary donations to support the campaign can be made at jfsdallas.org/donate/donate-now (choose Diaper Shower in the dropdown menu).
Cathy Glick, Beverly Rossel and Julie Liberman founded the Diaper Shower in 2011 after volunteering together for a JFS “For the Love of Family” fundraising event.
“It’s very rare that we get the opportunity to do something that really matters to others, and I’ve seen firsthand how providing something as simple as a diaper has made a huge difference. I know we’ve made a real difference in our community,” said Glick, who says her heart is touched at the thousands of packages that come in each year. “My co-chairs and I are mothers, and we know how much it means to be able to take care of our families.”
Food stamps can’t be used for these items. At $30, $40 and more a box, costs of these necessities often run $1,000 or more each year. Parents of young children are often faced with a terrible choice: whether to feed those they care for — or diaper them.
“This is important because it’s the little things that count,” said Rossel. “Knowing that a mother, or caretaker, doesn’t have to make a choice of paying a bill, or not dropping her child at daycare because they can’t afford a diaper, makes a difference. We can make a difference and we did!”
One in three families struggles to afford diapers, and JFS is making a difference for many of those families, serving 23 zip codes in Dallas County. In 2021, more than 88,000 diapers and 65,000 wipes were distributed by the agency.
“There are parents reusing diapers or waiting to change their children until the end of the day to stretch whatever they have,” said Liberman, immediate past chair of JFS. “It’s not out of neglect. Sometimes there just is no choice. Reusing diapers can lead to infection and illness, which impacts the whole family. Our annual Diaper Shower provides a necessity for those in immediate need in our community.”
Liberman added, “At JFS, we do all we can to provide and allow the dignity that we so honor in all of the services we provide. Dignity shouldn’t be a choice.”