'The Great CoverUp' diaper drive begins Mother's Day

LITTLE CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) -- An invisible need in our community is being addressed one diaper at a time through the ‘The Great CoverUp’ diaper drive in Northeast Wisconsin.

Right now, executive director of Jake’s Diapers Stephanie Bowers, a non-profit organization that provides diapers to those in need, said there are 5,200 families in Brown and Winnebago Counties who don’t have access to a stable supply of diapers for their kids.

To help, a group of community organizations are teaming up to launch the diaper drive which will run from Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 12) through Father’s Day (Sunday, June 16).

The goal is to collect about 500,000 donated diapers.

“Our biggest size needs are disposable diapers in 4, 5, 6 and pullups as well,” said Bowers.

They are accepting reusable diapers, disposable diapers or monetary donations to buy diapers. A monetary donation can be made at www.jakesdiapers.org.

“The impact just runs so much deeper than a diaper. It’s hope. It’s knowing someone out there cares. It’s knowing that you are not alone. It’s knowing you can provide for your child and not having to choose between diapers and medication,” said Bowers.

Experts say all too often, parents are forced to make those difficult decisions because safety net programs, such as WIC and Food stamps, don’t cover diapers.

“There is an infection risk if parents are not able to provide diapers for their children,” said Alicia Caldwell, an RN and manager of the Christoph Pediatric Unit at Belling Health. “It sets them up for a risk of infection, rashes and overall health of that child is compromised if they don’t have clean diapers.”

Bowers said the lack of diapers also impacts a family’s ability to get child care.

“Without diapers a child cannot go to childcare. When a child can’t go, a caregiver can’t go to work so diapers are a huge overlooked basic need that can empower families out of poverty as well as distribute dignity,” said Bowers. “The number one response we get from our recipients is thank you for reducing the stress on our family.”

Bowers said the donations won’t eliminate the growing waiting list of families in need, but it’s a good start.

“By the need of this year, we hope to be serving 1,500 families, but there are 5,000 families in need,” said Bowers. “So there is a huge gap, but what are we doing to get closer to closing that gap? That’s why we need the help.”

Here is a list of organizations who are participating in ‘The Great CoverUp’ diaper drive, along with those who will have public collection sites:

• All Saints Episcopal Church
• American Antiques & Jewelry
• Breakthrough Covenant Church
• Bellin Health
• DeLeers Construction
• Executive Office Suites/Leonard & Finco
• First Congregational UCC-Appleton
• Nielsen Ratings
• Schreiber Foods
• Seth Boyte- Apostolic Truth
• Starry Realty
• The Learning Shop
• The River Coffee & Cream
• Thrivent Representatives
• U.S. Venture

The list of organizations could grow, for an updated list of those participating head to www.jakesdiapers.org.