A Platte County family-run business is hosting a drive starting next week for an essential need often overlooked – diapers.
Rock Bottom Towing is hosting its second annual diaper drive during the month of November.
“Donations can be dropped off at Columbus Motor Company (2806 23rd St.) through the whole month of November,” said Sarah Cunningham, who owns Rock Bottom Towing with her husband. “Otherwise, we’re going to have two Fill the Van events… they’re (Columbus Motor Company) going to provide a van and people can just drive in and drop off diaper donations. No contact, they don’t have to get out of their vehicle.”
The Fill the Van dates are Saturday, Nov. 7 and Friday, Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. The diapers will be donated to the Platte County Food Pantry.
“We hope to be able to fill the van both times, but if it takes us two times, that’s fine,” Sarah said.
According to Sarah, families can experience diaper insecurity similar to how others can have food insecurity.
“This is not normally something I’ve seen held around the Columbus area,” Sarah said. “That’s why we started these diaper drives - because diapers are an essential need for families in addition to food. People don’t think to donate diapers.”
Sarah’s daughter, Elisabeth, assisted with helping kick off the drive’s first year in 2019.
Elisabeth said she previously worked for a nonprofit where she saw the complications of parents not being able to afford diapers for infants and toddlers.
For example, Elisabeth said, parents may have to stretch out the use of their child’s diaper, meaning that the child stays in the diaper longer than needed. If a young child doesn’t have a diaper, he or she will not be allowed into day care or preschool, she noted, meaning that the parent has to stay home and that may cause problems at work.
Additionally, she noted possible medical issues of overusing diapers, such as infections.
“The problem is that people don’t realize how far it spirals out of control...” Elisabeth said. “Also, they may prioritize food over diapers often, you know, would you rather eat ... over supplying diapers.”
Elisabeth’s parents came up with the idea of a diaper drive and she assisted with helping get the word out.
“My dad, he really wanted to do something that was overlooked,” Elisabeth said. “Of course you can do a food drive, of course, you can do a coat drive … he just felt like there was such a need … for diapers.”
Last year, 500 packages of diapers were donated to the inaugural event which was then given to the Simon House, Sarah said. She said she hopes to triple that number this year.
“Especially this year in 2020 with the pandemic, the increased need and the increased issues with food insecurity, there is just as much increased need for diaper insecurity,” she added.
Sarah said that last year, they were able to host events at local grocery stores in which they would tell customers who came in about the drive. Customers then had the option of picking up a package of diapers during their shopping trip.
“Unfortunately, we can’t do that this year because of the COVID. We’re hoping to get the word out enough that people will still donate,” Sarah said.
“A lot of people are doing online ordering now. Hopefully, they’ll hear about the diaper drive and add a package of diapers to their online order, receive their order and bring it to our Fill the Van event.”
Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of the Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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