March of Diapers kicks off

The annual diaper and wipe drive runs through March 31 in South King and North Pierce counties.

The March of Diapers is back for its sixth year.

The annual diaper and wipe drive put on by the nonprofit Do the Right Thing kicked off on March 1 and runs through March 31 in South King and North Pierce counties.

The March of Diapers drive started after South King County resident Cheryl Hurst visited the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN) domestic violence shelter that routinely has babies accompanying women seeking shelter from domestic abuse.

“I saw that the shelter had only one box of diapers and I had this indescribable feeling that something needed to be done to fix this problem,” Hurst said.

Government assistance safety net programs do not pay for diapers and wipes, so the March of Diapers uses the month of March to collect diapers and wipes to meet a desperate need for baby sanitary products that would otherwise not be met.

The drive will benefit seniors too.

Adult hygiene products (frequently called adult diapers) are also needed for adults. These products are also overlooked because people equate diaper need with babies and toddlers, Hurst noted. There are many low-income seniors who regularly use hygiene products (such as Depends) that are a daily need for seniors with incontinence issues, unfortunately their monthly social security checks do not stretch far enough to purchase them, she added.

The program collected 15,300 diapers in its first year in 2014, thanks to IAM 751 The Machinists Union. In 2019, the March of Diapers collected nearly 154,000 diapers and just over 73,000 wipes.

The goal for 2020 is to collect at least 200,020 diapers and 100,000 wipes. The March of Diapers will collect a total of one half-million diapers since its inception if this year’s goal is met.

Diaper drive quick facts

• For children less than 6 years of age, one in four live in poverty. Of these children, 56% came from a family with a female head of household.

• Although the national poverty rate is 15%, the percentage of women head of household families who live in poverty is double the national average.

• 5.8 million babies in the United States aged 3 or younger live in poor or low-income families.

• Disposable diapers cost up to $70-$100 per month per baby.

• Most child care centers require parents to provide a day’s supply of disposable diapers (six to eight changes daily) and these diapers must stay at the child care center.

• For sanitary reasons, coin-operated laundromats often don’t allow customers to launder cloth diapers.

Helping nonprofits

Join the communities of Federal Way, Milton, Edgewood, Fife, Kent and various other community members who want to help families who need help with diapers and wipes for their babies and seniors in need. All diapers and wipes collected are donated directly to the following nonprofits:

• Mary’s Place – multiple shelters

• Care Net of Puget Sound – multiple locations

• Parent Child Assistance Program

• Step by Step – Puyallup

• Nourish Food Bank – Edgewood/Milton

• Multi-Service Center – Federal Way

• Fusion Transitional Housing for Families – Federal Way

• Communities in Schools – Federal Way

• Children’s Home Society – Kent

• DAWN Domestic Abuse Women’s Network – Kent

• Foster Champs of Maple Valley

• South King Food Bank at the Federal Way Senior Center – Auburn

• Two Hearts Pregnancy Aid-Everett

For more information, visit March of Diapers on Facebook.

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