WPDB February drive aids babies during critical winter month Food Bank and Penguins lend support
Pittsburgh, PA — Jan. 28, 2015 – The Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank announces Burgh Baby Diaper Drive, a community-wide event in cooperation with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank during the month of February.
The Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the National Diaper Bank Network, distributes diapers free to families in need throughout the region. To sustain these families over the winter months, the Diaper Bank has an urgent need for increased donations. The Diaper Bank supplies the free diapers through 19 local partner agencies.
”We are proud to partner with the Diaper Bank to help provide diapers to families in need,” said Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Executive Director and CEO Lisa Scales. “The winter months can be especially hard for many families facing the decision between basic necessities such as proper clothing and food and increased utility bills, and programs like this are an essential piece to easing that burden and allowing families to thrive.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins will also conduct its second diaper drive at the Feb. 1 game against the Nashville Predators at 2 p.m. at Consol Energy Center.
“With a Valentine’s Day’s theme of love, we felt February was an appropriate time to show love to our precious babies through a simple gift of diapers,” explains Pastor Phillip Battle, founder and president of the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank. “We are grateful to the Food Bank for providing collection bins and logistical support for the many local sites and to the Penguins for conducting another diaper drive this year.” The Penguins drive last year netted 18,000 diapers in one night and $3,000.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation is honored to provide an assist to the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank once again and help families with babies who are struggling to provide essential needs. We know the Penguins Diaper Drive sponsored by Giant Eagle will be a great success because of Giant Eagle’s generous contribution and our fans’ outstanding support and generosity,” said Dave Soltesz, president, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. Additional diaper drive sites will be added during the month at www.westernpennsylvaniadiaper bank.org.
Confirmed sites to date are:
Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2001 Wylie Ave., Hill District, Feb. 1 and 8, during worship hours
Smithfield United Church of Christ, 620 Smithfield St., downtown, weekdays, 8:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m., Sundays during service hours.
Shiloh Community Missionary Baptist Church, 6940 Frankstown Road, Homewood, weekdays 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sundays 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 600 Pitt St., Wilkinsburg, call 412-243-6100 for hours
Sizes 4, 5 and 6 are the most in-demand sizes of diapers. Cash donations can also be made with check payable to the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank. The goal of Burgh Baby Diaper Drive is to collect 50,000 diapers or the equivalent in cash donations.
Diapers are not distributed from the donation sites. Those in need of diapers for their families must contact a participating partner agency. The agencies include: Mathilda Theiss Child Development Center, Family Foundations, Hill House Daycare, First Trinity Homeless Shelter, Ruth’s Way, Growing in God’s Ministry, Healthy Start, Jewish Family and Community Services, Focus Pittsburgh, Focus on Renewal, North Side Common Ministries, Casa San Jose, Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3, Supporting Hands Learning Center, Kelly’s Kingdom, Family Foundation, Family Foundation (Hill District) and Tri-City Life Center.
In the seven Southwest Pennsylvania counties the estimated need of children of families living in poverty is approximately 140,000 diapers per day (77,000 per day in Allegheny County alone) and growing. Disposable diapers cost up to $100 per month per baby. The National Diaper Bank Network reports that 1 in 3 American families struggle to afford diapers for their children. At the rate of six diapers per day, diaper wearing children in poverty in the United States require more than 5.8 billion diapers annually.
“The health risks are only the beginning of the challenges these families face,” said Pastor Battle. He notes the following:
Government programs do not provide diapers. Most childcare centers, even the free and subsidized facilities, turn away children who arrive without an adequate supply of disposable diapers.
Cloth diapers are not accepted at most centers. As a result, many parents cannot go to work or school consistently, thereby continuing the cycle of poverty.
Many may not directly see the despair created by the lack of a basic necessity for proper child care.
Many babies live in home environments with more tension, less nurturing and possible abuse.
Their chance to develop cognitive abilities and language skills normally is in jeopardy, and frankly, the uncomfortable baby will cry — a lot.
“With the support the community at large, this is a crisis we can solve together,” Pastor Battle believes. “Raising awareness of the issue generally brings a generous response from the community.“ Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank is one of the 61 national recipients of the inaugural Funds for Change grant awarded by the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN).
For additional information about the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank, to make an online donation, schedule a speaker or to sponsor a diaper drive, visit www.westernpennsylvaniadiaperbank.org.