By Kelly Youngblood
A mother and daughter duo have teamed up to take on a diaper dilemma in the Champaign-Urbana area.
Joy George and her daughter, Susan George, both of Champaign, started a non-profit organization called The Bottom Line Diaper Bank.
The George’s mission is to collect disposable diapers, wipes, Pull-Ups, and new or gently used cloth diapers for low-income mothers in the area who can’t always afford to purchase those items for their children.
The two officially began operating out of Joy’s home in August, but will soon move the operation to a warehouse at the Champaign Urbana Public Health District.
Joy says the goal right now is to raise awareness about the need for diapers for infants and children in the C-U area.
“I want to make babies lives better,” Joy said.
Joy, who has worked for many years as a social worker, said the idea for a diaper bank came after seeing so many single moms with small children struggle to make ends meet.
“Diapers are supposed to be a phase, and (instead), it’s a crisis. People have to make these decisions, ‘Do you get new diapers, is your baby changed on a regular basis, or are we going to eat?’” Joy said.
Her daughter, Susan, who recently graduated from the University of Illinois with a Master’s Degree in English, says she also became involved in the project to help local families.
“We’re really trying to allow families to focus on other (things) and hopefully this can not be a constant worry,” Susan said.
The Georges are basing their project model on the National Diaper Bank Network, which operates much like a food bank- the community donates items and those items are then distributed to non-profit organizations.
Joy said they are accepting applications from local not-for-profits that work with mothers and children. The Bottom Line’s only requirement is that the non-profit agrees to host a diaper drive or an awareness campaign once a year.
Currently, they have made cooperative agreements with Urbana Early Childhood, WIC, and the Developmental Services Center in Champaign.
Joy says she’s been really impressed with the response of the community. “So far it has really been quite an incredible experience. People have really answered the call.”
“It’s a need that people can get their minds wrapped around. They can understand what the predicaments are,” Joy added.
Both Susan and Joy hope to see their project become more of a community-based effort. Susan said the diapers are staying in the Champaign-Urbana area and “going to people who are in desperate need of them right now.”
If anyone would like to donate any items to Bottom Line Diaper Bank, email Joy and Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time. Monetary donations are also accepted. Susan said anyone interested in volunteering can also contact them via email or their Facebook page.