Be The Change: Cloth Diapers Give Babies a Better Chance at Life
Life is full of decisions, but sometimes it’s just hard to imagine the choices many people are forced to make on a regular basis.
Parents across the world face difficult decisions that impact kids like Selah, a little girl with special needs, who was abandoned, then rescued by Sarah’s Covenant Homes-India in India at the age of 3 — bald, unable to walk and covered in sores.
In Guatemala, many families make a living by sifting through garbage at the city dump: in search of recyclables or anything of value to sell. The workers receive very little for the long hours they put in, but most feel that they have no other option. Not only do they work in the dump, but they also live there too.
Children in Haiti regularly suffer from severe malnutrition and rescue centers work hard to find the resources needed to avoid losing them to starvation. This case is especially true for infants whose mothers died in, or shortly after childbirth.
These people are innocent, and they are in desperate need of help. Numerous nonprofit organizations and ministries are in place to offer assistance — but they still struggle to provide for all the daily needs of these families.
Jake’s Diapers partners with these global organizations to bridge that gap, setting up “Diaper Drops” to supply long-term diapering solutions for caretakers who are otherwise forced to make a decision between feeding their children and providing diapers.
“Before our partnership with Jake’s Diapers, the cost of diapering kids was one of our biggest monthly expenses,” said Nikki Cochrane, foster Mom at Sarah’s Covenant Homes, India (SCH). “Other orphanages here simply put the kids in a rag and clean them and the floor when needed, but we want to provide our kids with the best and so it has always been necessary to buy the diapers.”
The partnership with Jake’s Diapers allows SCH to save money that would have spent on disposable diapers, and instead afford basic expenses such as rent, food, medicines and medical care. As more children are provided cloth diapers, SCH looks forward to having more funding available for other needs such as outings for the children and specialized therapies. All 170 of the children that call SCH home are previously abandoned special needs children.
In Guatemala, Pure Joy Missions leverages the Jake’s Diapers services to connect with the families and improve their financial reach.
“The cloth diapers enable us to build relationships with the mothers living at the city garbage dump and educate them on infant care,” said Kathy Jacobs, Founder of Pure Joy Missions. “Many families now don’t have to pay for disposable diapers, so they can spend that money on food and other necessities. Some families were just using old rags as diapers, so the beautiful cloth diapers Jake’s Diapers provides are so much better for the babies’ bottoms!”
As for Selah, the love and support SCH continues to provide to its children thanks to support from programs like Jake’s Diapers has made a big difference in her life.
“Selah has been with us for 13 months now and she is a different child,” Nikki said. “She can walk … and run! God has healed her in ways that astound me, looking back at how far she has come! Selah now goes to a mainstream private school and as she goes to school every morning she never forgets to call out ‘I love you!’”
Vision for a better future
Jake’s Diapers wants to alleviate the pressure caretakers face in these devastating situations, and believes that no one should ever have to choose between food and diapers.
Partnering with existing organizations and ministries allows Jake’s to expand its impact while focusing on its core mission of providing cloth diapers for more children — for life.
“The process in working with Jake’s Diapers has been great! We feel supported, not only in getting donations but the staff has been helpful in answering questions we had as we first set up the cloth diaper program,” Nikki said. “We had never used them before and Jake’s Diapers gave us lots of tips and explained how they all work!”
Jake’s Diapers is truly focused on helping any caretaker who simply needs a hand up on providing a better life for their child, and this reach also extends locally.
In Wisconsin, Jake’s Diapers has partnered with organizations such as The Center for Suicide Awareness and The Metta Birth Project, both based in the Fox Valley.
“It is very easy to work with Jake’s Diapers,” Barb Bigalke of the Center for Suicide Awareness said. “They share the same mission to help others in a need with no judgement and no barriers. They help provide diapers to some of the population we serve. This makes this such a strong partnership as we both have the whole person interest at heart.”
From the Beginning
In January 2011, Jake’s Diapers Founders Ann Hinkfuss and Stephanie Bowers participated in a mission trip to Peru. While there, they visited an orphanage that was re-using disposable diapers as a way to cut costs and afford other basic necessities, such as food.
This experience stuck in their minds, but life continued as it were for some time. Soon enough, Stephanie had her own little one — Jake — running around in cloth diapers.
In 2013, Ann was preparing for a return trip and in April the two started collecting cloth diapers to donate to this orphanage. Some of Jake’s surplus diapers made the cut for donations.
Thus, Jake’s Diapers was born. What started with a goal of helping only 15 babies at this orphanage in Peru has now grown to an organization with a global reach and impact in 16 different countries.
Though not her only motivator, Stephanie’s role as a mom continues to influence her commitment to the cause.
“I look at them every day and wonder what would I do if I had to choose between food & diapers?,” Stephanie said. “The only difference between my babies and the babies we serve is where they were born.”
Be the Change: Why We Need Your Help Now
In its first few years of existence, Jake’s Diapers has touched a lot of lives around the world — but the number in need far outweighs the number who’ve been helped.
At the start of 2016, Jake’s Diapers had a waiting list of 10 organizations looking to partner for as a Diaper Drop location, which means thousands of children are waiting — in need.
“We are at a pivotal point in growth in Jake’s Diapers, are moving to a new location, expanding our clientele, and poised at an awesome position,” Stephanie said. “In order to make the leap, we need working capital to do all this until our revenue streams catch up.”
The organizations Jake’s Diapers serves rely heavily on the diaper donations.
“We rely primarily on Jake’s Diapers’ ability to provide us diapers,” Nikki of SCH said. “We never have enough money to do all the things that we dream of for our children. By providing SCH with cloth diapers, we are able to save money that we would have spent on disposables.”
How Jake’s Works
Jake’s Diapers partners with organizations already serving people who could benefit from cloth diapers. These partnerships allow Jake’s to focus on the task at hand and use its funds and volunteer support to accomplish its specific goal: to eliminate the need for caretakers to choose between food and diapers for their children.
If you or someone you know is part of an organization in need, Jake’s Diapers ask that you first fill out their application, which can be e-mailed upon request. . Jake’s reviews each application carefully and makes a final decision whether they are able to help.
“We review, prayerfully consider, and decide if we can help.We arrange for hand delivery of the cloth diapers. They use them. Lives are changed and saved. We are blessed to be a blessing.” Stephanie Bowers, Co-Founder of Jake’s Diapers.
After an application is approved, the organization is ready to be helped! As Jake’s grows, this can sometimes mean sitting on a waiting list — which is where donors like you come in. As we get more funds, we can make more drops operational.
Diapers are sent to their drops packed in a suitcase and with individuals heading on a mission trip to ensure their delivery, and allow for training in use of the cloth diapers
While on mission trips, individuals will also connect with drop locations to evaluate and improve Jake’s process and services.
Jake’s Diapers reach is global, and in total the organization has operated 25 drops in 16 countries, including: DR Congo, Ethiopia, , Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Tanzania, and beyond.
Locally, Jake’s Diapers will connect with organizations that are open to help despite societal stigmas that might feel like a barrier for assistance.
“One of our goals is to help more families locally. However, there are greater barricades to helping those in the U.S.,” Stephanie said. “Some of this is education, as we have been informed, ‘poor people don’t have washing machines and dryers.’ According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 65% of those living at or below poverty line have a washer and dryer in their residence.”
For families here in the U.S., use of cloth diapers will save not only over $2,000 per child, but also keeps one ton of garbage out of our landfills. Certain types of cloth diapers are also daycare-friendly, and daycares require a day’s supply of diapers or else a child can not attend. This can be a barrier for poverty stricken families here in the U.S., if daycare is not an option then a caregivers ability to work becomes threatened.
Jake’s Diapers has helped local families facing a medical crisis, adoptive families who’ve already realized a great financial burden simply to adopt and other community members facing a hardship — financial, emotional or otherwise.
“When a person loses hope —if we can take that one issue off of their plate, that’s one less issue weighing them down,” said Barb of the Center for Suicide Awareness.
How Jake’s Helps
Since it’s inception, Jake’s Diapers has coordinated a total of 25 Diaper Drops with its partnering organizations around the world.
Through these partnerships and thanks to donations from generous individuals like yourself, the organization has made a difference in the lives of nearly 3,000 children and supplied nearly 30,000 cloth diapers.
The use of cloth diapers impacts lives in ways unimaginable: In Costa Rica, partner organizations are seeing success with decreased infant mortality rates and transmittable diseases by helping the Chirripo women with diapering and health education.
It takes just $231 to cloth diaper a baby from infancy through potty training. Depending on the Diaper Drop location, hundreds or even thousands of children are waiting, in need.
Right now, SCH in India has 170 lives in need of cloth diapers — a total need of $39,270 to completely fund that single diaper drop.
Operational expenses are also incurred as Jake’s Diapers works to carry out its mission. This year, Jake’s acquired a space in downtown Kaukauna that will help increase its capacity to serve, but that comes at a cost. Funds are also needed to pay for the transportation of diapers and mission trips to the drops.
How You Can Help
Support our Global Giving crowdfunding campaign! We’re on a mission to raise money to get Diaper Drops off our waiting list and positively impact childrens’ lives. You can Be the Change that we need to make sure no caregiver ever has to choose between providing food or diapers for their child.
There are a number of ways you can help, check out the difference you can make below. Business sponsorship opportunities are also available, and come with a unique business benefits package as well.
- $10 — Be the Change: Every dollar counts, and we appreciate you supporting our cause!
- $26 — Every baby counts: Cover the cost and delivery of 1 diaper
- $50 — Send that Suitcase: Cover the transportation of a suitcase of diapers.
- $102 — Better in Pairs: Cloth diapers for 2 babies, plus 2 shipments of diapers for life.
- $231 — Change a child’s life forever: Complete set of cloth diapers from birth to potty training.
- $693 — The Whole Family: Cloth diaper 3 babies for life.
- $1,000 — Half-way there: Help 1 person go on a mission trip to deliver cloth diapers (total cost $2,000)
- $1,350 — Stuff That Case! About 50 cloth diapers fit into one suitcase for delivery. This provides us enough to stuff & ship an entire suitcase! You’re helping 5 babies live better lives with this donation.
- $2,000 — On a Mission: Cover 1 person’s mission trip to deliver cloth diapers, serve the people in need, evaluate and improve our services.
- $5,000 — Jake’s Partner: Send 1 person on a mission trip with enough diapers to supply 20 babies for life.