Stuff the bus…with diapers!
It might not be something that crosses your mind that often, but diapers are an expensive necessity for anyone with an infant or toddler. Did you know that diapers aren’t covered by government programs like SNAP or WIC?
In the Birmingham area, there are nearly 15,000 children under 5 years of age, and nearly ⅓ of our community lives below the poverty line, defined as $24,250 for a family of four. These two statistics, when combined, create a very real need in our own backyard, and a local nonprofit called Bundles of Hope helps address it head on.
In 2014, a group of women from Mountain Chapel UMC in Vestavia Hills were planning a baby shower for a single mother. As they discussed the high cost of diapers, one of the women mentioned a friend from college who started a diaper bank in the Washington DC area. The seed was planted, and Barrett Ford and Nancy Owen began assessing “diaper need” in the Birmingham area. They reached out to nearby food banks and churches as well as United Way’s 2-1-1 Assistance Line and found that “diaper need” was, in fact, a reality for thousands of families in our area, and yet, there was nowhere for these families to turn.
Bundles of Hope Diaper Bank held their first diaper drive in October 2014, collecting over 3,500 diapers and giving away 2,300 of those diapers in December at the Green Valley Baptist Church’s Food Bank. Within the first year of operation, nearly 20,000 diapers were distributed to families in need. In October of 2018, they distributed their one millionth diaper and now serve around 600 families each month.
Stuff the Bus
This September 20-29, their annual “Stuff the Bus” campaign will take place below the Target shopping center, fronting Highway 280 [map]. Their greatest needs are sizes 4, 5, 6, and pull-ups, and cash donations are accepted as well. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about their efforts.
Lindsay Gray, the executive director of Bundles of Hope, is especially excited about two groups who have stepped up to host “satellite” Stuff the Bus events this year.
Cahaba Heights event
“The Cahaba Heights Merchants Association is hosting a drive on Saturday, September 21,” said Gray. “They’re asking community members to come by between 2-4pm with their donations, and anyone who brings diapers will receive a free scoop from Doodle’s [map].” The event will include a live DJ, bounce houses, yard games, and more fun for the whole family.
In addition to these locations, the first-ever collection site in northern Jefferson County will be at Gardendale Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church (GMV) [map]. The stuff the bus campaign in Gardendale kicks off on Wednesday, September 18 at 8am, and it coincides with the church’s bi-annual Kingdom Kids Consignment Sale.
“Our goal is for the consignment sale sellers, shoppers, and the Northern Jefferson communities to help us fill a bus full of diapers for needy families,” said Jim Jeffreys, Director of Missions & Outreach at GMV. Volunteers will be onsite to collect packs of diapers. “We will be collecting packs of diapers and monetary donations to be used to purchase even more diapers.”
The Kingdom Kids Consignment Sale, held at 805 Crest Drive in Gardendale, features gently-used name-brand clothing, sizes infant to teen & tween, accessories, shoes, toys, electronics, bedding, furniture, maternity clothes and so much more.
“The sale offers families a great way to affordably shop for their children at great prices,” explains Tara Salters, chairperson of the Kingdom Kids Sale. “We take in tens-of-thousands of items from close to 500 sellers. It is a wonderful week, and what better way to expand on the mission of the sale than by incorporating the diaper drive?”
The first 100 donors of a pack of diapers will receive a coupon for $5 off a minimum purchase of $5 during Saturday shopping hours between 7am and noon when many items are discounted 50% off.
Diaper collection will take place during the sale hours. Visit KingdomKidsConsignment.com for a complete list of shopping times. For more details on the event and how to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.