Diaper Need Awareness Week Sept. 27- Oct. 3

West Plains Mayor Mike Topliff and members of the Howell County Commission will join members of the Diaper Resource Center next week to proclaim September 27-October 3, 2021, as National Diaper Need Awareness Week in Howell County. An initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN), the week designation was created to mobilize efforts to help make a difference in the lives of the nearly 5.3 million babies in the U.S. aged three or younger who live in poor or low-income families. Locally, the Focus on Babies Diaper Resource Center – West Plains (DRC) joins in that effort. 
What is Diaper Need? One in three families struggle to provide enough diapers each day to keep their babies clean and dry. The situation has led to what has become known as "diaper need." There are currently no federal or state programs which assist with the purchase of diapers. There are many circumstances which can create diaper need, and whatever those circumstances are, they do not erase the fact that babies need clean and dry bottoms to stay healthy and happy.
Diaper banks such as DRC, function as store houses for diapers like food banks do for food. Diaper banks rely on members of the community, churches, and other organizations to hold diaper drives and diaper showers. These banks also reply on individuals and businesses to provide monetary and in-kind donations to sustain their supply.
The Diaper Resource Center was organized in early 2015 with the mission: "To furnish local distributing agencies with diapers for at-risk, early childhood youth to enhance the families' resources and improve their well-being." DRC receives support as an affiliate of Diaper Bank of the Ozarks. In six years of operation, more than 189,000 disposable diapers have been donated by DRC to agencies for distribution to area families, with additional cloth diaper starter kits made available. Current distributing agencies include His Place House of Worship Diaper Ministry, Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center, and Christos House. Select clients are also served through the Howell County Health Department, 37th Division Children’s Services, Ozark Action Early Head Start, and the Chaos Closet. Individuals with needs should contact those agencies directly with inquiries.
The cloth diaper loan program, that began in 2016, expands the efforts of the group. Starter kits are distributed to Howell County families. If interested, please contact Dawn Hicks at the Howell County Health Department (417-256-7078).
Donations of disposable diapers can be dropped off at Ozark Action Inc. (OAI), 710 E. Main St., West Plains, MO 65775. OAI provides DRC with warehouse space for diapers. Diapers can be left at OAI, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday, all year long. Fiscal management, allowing for financial contributions to be tax-deductible, is provided by the Community Interagency Council.
Area churches, businesses, organizations, or individuals who wish to contribute toward addressing “diaper need,” in our area may inquire at diaperresourcecenter@gmail.com, by phone to 417-256-6147, or by mail at P O Box 1773, West Plains, MO 65775. Presentations are available for groups on request. Check the DRC Facebook page under Diaper-Resource-Center-West-Plains for updates. Any Howell County group wishing to apply as a distributing agency should email or phone for an application.
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