In honor of Mother’s Day and the sacrifices made by all mothers, Washington Street UMC is collecting diapers for low-income families in the community through Sunday, May 8. Diapers can be brought to the box at the back of the Sanctuary, or dropped off at the Church during normal business hours. (Click for hours and directions.)

If you would prefer to donate money for this cause, which will then be used to purchase diapers in bulk, you can designate your Sunday offering for the diaper drive by using one of the envelopes in the pews, writing “diapers” in the memo line of your check, or by giving to the “diaper drive” electronically through the online eGiving portal.

Why Diapers?

Unlike food, formula, or medicine, there is currently no federal assistance plan to purchase diapers. This means that the families with the lowest income will have to choose between meeting critical needs—food, shelter, transportation to work or school, or utilities—and putting clean diapers on their infants. Diapers may cost over $900 per year for a single child, a whopping 14% of the annual pay of the lowest income families.

And these families will pay more than middle class families will pay for diapers: they may lack transportation to big box stores that offer diapers at cheaper prices than grocery stores or convenience stores, they will not have memberships to warehouse clubs that sell bulk diapers at a discount, and they may not have either reliable internet access or secure locations to receive discount diapers ordered online. Buying diapers in larger packages requires more cash in hand up front, something many mothers cannot accommodate when living paycheck-to-paycheck.

And for mothers who cannot afford to use a fresh diaper every time one is soiled, there can be significant consequences to the health and wellbeing of the child and the mother—diaper rash and bladder infections, as well as the stress of a crying baby who cannot be soothed and the emotional strain of feeling unable to provide for a child.

Why ALIVE!, Inc.?

Alive_logoWashington Street United Methodist Church has a long-standing relationship with ALIVE, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization serving low income families in the City of Alexandria. ALIVE! has long been a trusted partner for WSUMC and other congregations throughout Alexandria, with well-established mechanisms for connecting people in need with charitable gifts.

Donated diapers will be distributed through two programs: the Last Saturday Food Distribution program and ALIVE! House.

About the Last Saturday Food Distribution: On the last Saturday of each month, ALIVE! volunteers distribute a 5-day supply of surplus fresh produce and staple foods to serve about 600 families referred by social service agencies and ALIVE! congregations. Many of the families who come to the Last Saturday Food Program are living on the margins.  ALIVE! has the food distribution at the end of the month so that families can pay their rent and have food in the last week of the month; otherwise, they would likely go without enough food so that they could keep a roof over their heads.

About ALIVE! House: The ALIVE! House shelter provides temporary housing for women and families in emergency and transitional situations. Families who are residents at ALIVE! House are there for many different reasons. Some are victims of domestic abuse while others have ended up homeless following the loss of a job and falling behind in their rent. In most cases, they are reunited with their children or working to be reunited with their children. They are struggling to keep everything going while facing enormous obstacles. While people reside in ALIVE! House, the goal is to reunite the family, provide parenting guidance, prepare residents for the workforce, and help find permanent housing. Presently every family in the House has at least one child in diapers.