Local volunteers hope to collect more than 50,000 diapers during the fourth annual March of Diapers.
The drive runs from March 1 to 31. Diapers and wipes can be dropped off at various locations throughout Federal Way and beyond.
Last year’s drive collected more than 37,000 diapers and 36,000 wipes.
Local organizer Cheryl Hurst started the effort in 2014 after handing out gifts at the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network shelter with Rotary.
While on a tour of the DAWN facility, Hurst noticed one box of diapers in a storage area and asked why there were so few.
“They said, ‘those are totally expensive. We never get donations of those. We buy them on an as needed basis,’ ” Hurst said. “When I left that day, I thought I can’t imagine not having diapers.”
The experience spurred Hurst in the action. She contacted friends at the IAM District 751 Machinists Union and asked them if they would collect diapers. They had done sock drives for Hurst in the past.
The machinists union gathered about 14,000 diapers the first year. The next year, Hurst got the community involved, and the drive has grown every year since.
Over the past few years, the drive has expanded to include collection points in other communities including Maple Valley.
Organizations that benefit from the drive are the Multi-Service Center in Federal Way; Communities in Schools Federal Way; Mary’s Place homeless shelters throughout Seattle and King County; Foster Champs in Maple Valley, an organization that provides foster parents with needed supplies; Care Net of Puget Sound, which has several locations throughout the area; DAWN domestic violence shelter; Nourish Pierce County, a food bank in Edgewood, and Pregnancy Aid of Snohomish County.
Hurst tries to distribute the collected items to communities that are served by the machinist union since the union is a big contributor to the drive.
She is working on getting nonprofit status and 501(c)3 status for her Do the Right Thing organization. In addition to overseeing the March of Diapers, Do the Right Thing will also host a yearly fundraiser and organize other efforts to better the community.
Having 501(c)3 status, would make the nonprofit eligible for more donations from companies and other organizations, Hurst said.
“There’s a lot of money that gets left on the table,” Hurst said.
Since government programs, such as food stamps, don’t cover diapers, there is a real need for donations, Hurst said.
“Even people that their kids are grown remember how hard it is to go to the grocery store and look at how much diapers cost,” she said.
The drive will take any brand and size of diapers, Hurst said, but diapers for preemies and size 6 are often overlooked.