Last fall Laura Kovnat and Ruth Kremer led a diaper drive at Temple B’nai Shalom that collected more than 1000 diapers and numerous containers of baby wipes for St. Joseph / Benton Harbor. The total effort collected more than 5000 diapers for the Berrien County Health Department and a convenient Benton Harbor location, the Center for Better Health, an outreach center sponsored by the local hospital.
The diapers flew off the shelves so quickly that the group sponsoring it, United through Motherhood, is organizing a year-round drive. Eleven years ago, there were nine diaper banks in the US. Today there are over 300. This will be the first and only diaper bank in southwest Michigan, if it becomes sustainable. Last fall Peace Lutheran and the YMCA joined with Temple B’nai Shalom in collecting diapers. This March those same three are collecting again. And in April-May, the St. Joseph High School Rotary Interact club will be collecting from fellow students.
Several other churches and two businesses may follow suit in the summer.
Temple B’Nai Shalom President
- half (49%) of infants and toddlers in Michigan are living below or close to the Federal Poverty Level.*
- of babies born in Michigan who are covered by Medicaid: 46%*
- of diapers: $80-100 per month PER BABY. 12 per day for small babies; 8 per day for toddlers.*
- of state and federal aid are prohibited from using those funds for disposable diapers.*
- prevents parents who want to work or attend school from accessing daycare services, which require at least one day’s worth of disposable diapers in advance.*
- of parents nationally report losing an average of four days’ work in the past month due to diaper insufficiency.**
*From Michigan Health Department;
**National survey supplied by the National Baby Diaper Bank.