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'We lost all of our FEMA money' | Charity seeks diapers and formula

With the loss of a $29,000 grant from FEMA, the Multi-Service Center’s Emergency Feeding Program is in serious need of infant formula and toddler diapers — two items that were usually covered by the grant money.

Federal Way and King County residents are asked to donate infant formula and toddler diapers at the MSC facility, 1200 S. 336th St. Donations will be accepted through the end of September.

“The thing that Federal Way has been able to do that other food banks don’t is provide diapers and formula once a week,” said Terri Turner, supervisor of MSC’s food and clothing bank. “Most other places only do that once a month. It’s something we’ve always been proud of.”

As the economy continues to spiral downward and federal funding evaporates, Turner said this service is in dire straits at the MSC.

“Diapers and formula are really expensive. Funds are being cut all over the place, and when we lost all of our FEMA money, that was all food,” Turner said. “We’ve always had money to fill in the gaps. But the money for that kind of stuff is very quickly drying up.”

With the economy and unemployment, Turner said the loss of funds couldn’t come at a worse time because demand is now increasing.

“Last month, we saw 573 zero- to two-year-olds,” she said. “55 of those were new (clients) for the first time this year.”

For those who turn to the MSC for formula and diapers, Turner said they get a fair amount of products. Those in need are given six diapers, and if the child is under one year old, a container of formula or rice cereal is also provided. In the general bags of food handed out, there are typically six to eight jars of baby food.

The top requests for diapers are for sizes four, five and six. Turner said donations are going to become essential to the MSC’s ability to provide for the community.

“We’ve already been hit really hard in funds for food. We’re really counting on donations,” she said.

To learn more about the Multi-Service Center, contact (253) 838-6810 or visit www.multi-servicecenter.com.

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