The Annual Diaper Drive, founded in 2014, is a seasonal effort of Choices for Children (CFC) in El Dorado County to ensure families in need do not go without diapers. Stacy Smithee, who took lead on organizing the program in 2015, discussed with us in length the processes and resources needed to guarantee success of the program. She along with several other CFC staff work on coordination and bringing awareness to the drive that is necessary each year. It is a group collaboration among the CFC office to plan and execute the program.
Each drive runs for about two weeks at a time and donations are received in multiple different ways. A large number are received from the Jet Cares Program, which allows nonprofits to receive donations at a lower cost as well as receive free shipping on orders. Donation bins are also on site to collect donations and local libraries will accept donations as well.
One of the biggest challenges, Stacy emphasizes, is that when it comes to relying on physical donations, is that there is often in a surplus of certain sizing and in a deficit of another, hence they welcome monetary donations as well. CFC aims to have about a year’s supply of diapers on hand as there is always a need year-round. Donations are also received via word of mouth or from past donors who partake in the donation event annually. To ensure there is always a surplus of diapers readily available, CFC applies for grants via community agencies and averages about $1000 monetary donations a year though it is variable. This helps offset any deficit there might be in sizing when it comes to physical donations.
Networking support plays an integral role in donation factors. CFC will send flyers to smaller agencies about upcoming diaper drives and cards to past donors with the encouragement to donate again each year. Social media and print advertisements are also relied on heavily to spread the word. There are also a large number of past donors who donate to the drive annually and play a large role in the success of the program.
Even though the Diaper Drive is only a two-week program, donations are accepted throughout the year and open packages of diapers from parents whose children transition from sizes or from childcare providers who accumulate diapers are also accepted.
Roughly, 30 families a month seek assistance from the program and each family will receive about 30-35 diapers per pack as the assistance is designed to be supplemental. However, CFC realizes there is current need for ongoing help and works to support those families by providing them with community resources with each donation. These resources include, classes, events kids expos etc. CFC works hard to connect with parents and developing a relationship that fosters trust.
The next diaper drive is anticipated to begin between September 21st and 25th in 2020. Stacy was proud to report that they have not encountered any abuse of the system since it has been in place.