Poverty paints a lot of pictures, some more common than others: children in a third world country, hungry and wearing tattered clothes; homeless men and women, dirty and huddled on a street block in a large city; a person standing near a busy highway, desperately holding onto a sign asking for money.
Less commonly recognized, though, are the pictures of poverty painted in our own backyards.
That’s what Bella Krajnik of Appleton Alliance Church wanted the organization’s youth group to recognize during a recent Diaper Wars diaper drive to benefit Jake’s Diapers.
“I think in the area that we live in, it’s a little bit easy to think everything is good and fine and there’s not a need,” Bella said. “It was so encouraging to see the students, and their small group leaders as well, were really feeding into (the project idea), and really starting to grasp the need and why there was a need.”
Appleton Alliance Church youth students meet every Wednesday, and the organization was looking for an outlet to get the kids involved in community outreach. Bell began researching local opportunities before stumbling upon Jake’s Diapers online.
“I thought it was something that you don’t always see, and it was something that our students could relate to in the sense that they could understand what it would be like,” she said.
She reached out to Jake’s Executive Director Stephanie Bowers, and the Diaper Wars diaper drive took off from there. They organized a competition between the groups to bring in the most diapers, with the winning donor earning a pizza party instead of class on an upcoming Wednesday. Stephanie also popped in to talk more about the local need for diapers – and parents making the decision between food and clean diapers – and that conversation sparked a fire in the competition.
The winning group was able to collect and donate more than 1,000 diapers. Jake’s Diapers also contributed additional supplies to finish the event with a packing party at Appleton Alliance. Bella said about 40 people packed 16,000 diapers in about 2.5 hours.
Your Turn: We love connecting with community members who want to have fun giving back, and would be happy to help you host the next Diaper Wars or other diaper drives to help those in need. E-mail Katie at [email protected] to get started.