Right now the COVID-19 pandemic is showing many of us the importance of our social support networks, and the need for a more holistic approach to solving basic needs.
“Only when kids are healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged will they be able to master the skills and knowledge that will help to make their futures bright.” – Melissa Mellor, ASCD Inservice
Jake’s Diapers is committed to enabling this future for all, and right now we need your help to fund our programs.
Does need versus want exist when you live in poverty?
When many think about basic needs, the first that come to mind include: food, water and shelter. While these are essentials to survival, it is not a comprehensive view of what it takes to thrive in a modern society.
Consider a single parent who works two jobs to make ends meet. This parent is able to put food on the table and keep a roof over the child’s head – but, is he or she able to really meet a trifecta of human needs for survival, especially in modern society?
Remember, she works two jobs. How does she have time to tend to the emotional needs of her child, much less her own? After clocking 60 hours, she has little to no energy left for anything else, including spending quality time with her child to engage in play, read a book or other important developmental moments.
And, she likely has little money left to buy any “extras,” things that boost morale, enhance quality of life and strengthen educational opportunities at home.
Toys are an example of an extra that many families like this one go without. A child living in poverty isn’t going to experience an abundant and overflowing playroom like many kids across the country. Play is a very important part of any person’s development, and age-appropriate toys provide an opportunity to enhance that growth.
“It’s a sad fact that children born in poverty start out at a disadvantage and continue to fall further behind kids who are more privileged as they grow up,” says an article on Sciencemag.com. The article describes research that followed children from infancy for twenty years, and revealed that those children who received mental stimulation had better grades and higher IQs, showed fewer signs of depression, and got in fewer fights. The mental stimulation program involved giving parents simple picture books and handmade toys, and encouraging them to read and sing to their children and point out names of objects, shapes, and colors.
Changing the Basic Needs Approach
Jake’s Diapers exists to provide hope and hygiene to people struggling to meet basic needs. We do this through a network of community organizations that provide additional support individuals and families need to thrive despite struggling financially.
Once simply a diaper bank, we have evolved as an organization to serve diverse hygiene needs and reinvigorate a sense of dignity for people struggling to exit poverty. We are able to continue our work in partnership with the National Diaper Bank Network, the Alliance for Period Supplies and most recently Good360.
Good360’s mission is to transform lives by providing hope, dignity, and a sense of renewed possibility to individuals, families, and communities impacted by disasters or other challenging life circumstances who, without us, would struggle to find that hope. The organization operates through a network of Community Redistribution Partners, organizations that fit certain criteria including:
- At least $50,000 in annual revenue (although many of our CRPs typically have much bigger operating budgets);
- Access to a large warehouse (at least 5,000 square feet) that can accommodate deliveries from a 53-foot trailer; and
- Enough staffing to unload semi-truckloads of product at a time and efficiently redistribute these items to up to hundreds of other nonprofits.
Guess what? Jake’s Diapers is one of these CRPs – the only in Wisconsin. This partnership opens up doors for local nonprofits to access many items people in poverty need. As a CRP, we have the capacity to provide access to non-perishable items for hundreds of nonprofits in our regional vicinity for a nominal administrative fee.
Jake’s core mission has always resonated with basic needs beyond those most obvious food and shelter. We understand that the power of other basic needs that propel individuals to live with dignity in a modern society will ensure they can maintain food and shelter, so our focus is not to provide this handout but the handup.
Why our CRP work is important during COVID-19
Our ongoing mission is a vital piece in the fight against poverty, with our programs aimed at alleviating additional pressures that trap individuals in vicious poverty cycles. The COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to cause the first global increase in poverty since 1998, according to some experts, with 49 million people pushed into extreme poverty in 2020. (Source: Worldbank.org)
We are committed to responding to community needs in order to lessen the burden of this setback. For people struggling to get by day-to-day, our programs lift that additional financial burden from their shoulders to allow them to continue to pursue quality of life.
Yes, we are focused on quality for each individual. This means we are donating the best products we can find, rather than the more common giving of generic brands, second-hand products and so forth. Our partnership with Good360 is an essential tool toward this goal.
Why does this matter? It allows these individuals to live with dignity, and this sense of self worth is a powerful tool in breaking through the barriers on the path to self sufficiency.
In our ideal future, individuals get the unique help each single one needs in order to effectively care for themselves and develop financial self sufficiency.