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Nonprofit View: CarrollBaby gets diapers to those in need with help from community

The words charity and philanthropy are often used interchangeably. At CarrollBaby we provide charity in the form of diapers to vulnerable families. We’re also working to develop a long-term philanthropic strategy in order to have a meaningful and lasting impact in Carroll County. But the word that best describes our work is, community. Without the support of our local community, CarrollBaby would have fizzled out months ago.

In less than a year since our founding, we have distributed over 35,000 diapers, of which 90% have been donated directly by members of the community. Penguin Random House and The Spa at West Main are among several local businesses that have reached out to host diaper drives. We’ve also received generous support from The Carroll County Quilter’s Guild, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Westminster and friends and family of Jordan K. Davis.  The remaining diapers are purchased through our fund with the Community Foundation of Carroll County or in the form of corporate product donations.

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Participants from The Arc of Carroll County and McDaniel College students have volunteered their time to help prepare hundreds of bundles of diapers. We’re also grateful for our partnership with Springdale Preparatory School in New Windsor. Springdale has kindly welcomed CarrollBaby to its campus in order to provide a storage space for diapers.

There are a few other organizations in the area that provide diapers, but our mission is slightly different in that the families we serve are guaranteed 50 diapers per month per child, which ends up being about a week’s supply and helps low-income families budget accordingly.  We’ve received several reports from community partners that the quantity of diapers provided has served as an incentive for high-risk families to remain engaged in services.

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All diapers are distributed through our community partners by case managers, social workers and teachers that specialize in early childhood development and Parent as Teacher education. We are especially grateful for our partnership with the Carroll County Public Schools Judy Center Early Learning Hub.

The last few weeks have been challenging as CarrollBaby and its community partners have mobilized into emergency relief mode in response to the COVID-19 virus. We’ve had to get creative in terms of how we accept donations and how we get them to families. We’ve implemented a temporary porch pick-up program to collect diaper donations throughout the county and have been overwhelmed by the messages we’ve received from mothers wanting to help other mothers during this time of economic uncertainty. We also have an Amazon wish list with our high-need sizes, which requires no physical contact in order to donate All diapers from our Amazon wish list are shipped directly to our storage site. Diapers are being distributed drive-thru style at local churches and food pantries or through porch drop-off.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, one in three U.S. families were struggling to afford the cost of diapers. And now, many families are finding themselves in situational poverty and needing to ask for help for the first time. As the economic impact of this crisis deepens, we are already receiving additional requests from parents and other family support agencies. On average, we normally distribute 4,500 diapers per month to existing community partners. For the month of April, over 6,000 diapers were distributed due to the increased need.  This may seem like a lot, but we are at capacity while only serving 120 of the estimated 2,000 children in need of clean diapers in Carroll County. With CarrollBaby being less than a year old and 100% volunteer based, it is only with the continued support from our community that we will be able to meet this growing need.

Lauren Bukszar is the founder of CarrollBaby. CarrollBaby is a fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. For more information, please visit CarrollBaby.org.

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Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it, as our editorial. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”

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