How This Mom Is Helping Every Baby In Her Community Stay Healthy
In January 2014 Shannon Buist of Park City, UT, was dropping off some toy donations at a women's shelter when she asked the volunteers if they needed anything else. The answer was an immediate: "More diapers!"
"It had never occurred to me before, but it makes sense—diapers are expensive, and babies go through them quickly," says the mom of a 2- and a 4-year-old. That night, Shannon did some research and learned that diapers are one of the most-needed items at shelters and food pantries across North America. In fact, many low-income parents make one diaper last all day, some resorting to reusing a soiled disposable, which can cause rashes and urinary tract infections.
The big problem: Disposables cost up to a month per baby and are not covered by any government assistance program, so parents already struggling to purchase food and medicine are forced to make impossible choices. (Cloth diapers are less expensive, but self-service laundries and daycare facilities often prohibit them.)
So Shannon started Dry Baby Bums, an organization that collects and donates diapers throughout Park City. The local community pitches in by offering space (such as bowling alleys, gymnastics gyms and restaurants) for fundraisers, often charging a box of diapers for admission. Every penny raised goes directly to the cause.
Shannon has already collected over 38,000 individual diapers and collected another 140,000 at a Masquerade Ball early this month, but it's hard to keep up. Park City's food pantry alone distributes 7,000 to 10,000 every month. "I thought I was going to feel so good doing this, and I do," Shannon says. "It's just sad when you see the need."
Thanks to Dry Baby Bums, struggling families in Shannon's community have a little relief. Some hug the volunteers or start praying when they see the diapers. "One father was raising four children while working three jobs, and he started crying," Shannon says. "Most Park City babies now have clean, dry diapers. That is the biggest reward."
Want to help babies in your area?
Give diapers to a shelter or Feeding America food pantry near you (locations may accept loose diapers if you don't have a full box), or visitto make a financial donation today.
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