My name is Chris and my wife Helen and I run Baby Booties Diapers Bank in McKinney, Texas.
This organization was actually born out of a family project. My wife had decided she wanted our family to do an Act of Kindness every day for a year, and she would write about our experiences in her blog called “366 Random Acts of Kindness.” Our twins were six at the time, and we wanted them to learn the value of generosity. We became really intentional about doing a kind deed every single day, whether it was paying for the order of the person behind us at Starbucks or taking teddy bears to sick kids in the hospital. Some days it might be as simple as leaving candy on a co-worker’s desk.
We decided we wanted to have a really grand gesture for the last day of the family project. When we learned that there was no diaper bank in this area, we decided to start Baby Booties Diaper Bank, providing diapers, feminine hygiene products and baby wipes for people who need them most. The diaper need is real. Diapers are expensive, averaging around $80-$100 a month for one child. Federal assistance programs, such as SNAP (formerly called food stamps) and WIC, do not cover diapers.
We’ve been running this for 7 or 8 years now. We have one distribution a week and set up in a church parking lot. I direct traffic, and 5 or 6 volunteers work the table, passing items to the cars as they drive up. Community Lifeline Center partners with us and brings bags of food.
With COVID-19 we’ve seen more need than ever. We’ve even created emergency pop-ups to respond to the additional requests for help, so instead of once a month, we’ve been setting up weekly. We’ll take requests directly–no questions asked–and give supplies to individuals who are willing to drive and get them. In just three weeks we’ve seen over 400 vehicles come through our Saturday distributions and handed out 10,000 diapers, 150 meal bags, 14,000 period products, 400 packs of baby wipes, and 150 canisters of formula.
Some of the formula was donated by the WIC office in McKinney, but we’ve been getting random diapers and supplies dropped off on our doorstep as well by individuals and families just wanting to help.
Streetside showers is another organization that we have partnered with. They have been coming on Saturdays and setting up their mobile showers in the parking lot with us. People who need access to their facilities are given 20 minutes each to shower, shave, and brush their teeth. They also provide much-needed personal hygiene supplies.
Family HeSaturdays are our favorite times right now. We go out, sit in the parking lot, and get to help people. In a strange way, doing this for others is helping us through this crisis, too. It keeps us grounded. We realize the struggles that others are going through and see that so many people are working hard but living right on that line financially. When we look beyond ourselves to what is going on around us, It puts our own lives into perspective. More than ever it’s made us realize that we need one another.
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