Mississippi business leaders launching Diaper Bank to help families in need
Published 3:33 pm Saturday, July 16, 2022
With inflation at a 40-year high and purchasing power plummeting, many local residents may find it difficult to afford basic necessities. For families with children, circumstances can be even more challenging.
According to the National Diaper Bank Network, one in three families have difficulty affording diapers and two in five families stretch the use of diapers by reusing them or keeping a child in the same diaper longer. Because there are no federal support programs that cover diaper expenses – which can reach $100 per month per child – community support is vital.
To help out, members of the 2022 Leadership Lafayette class are launching The Oxford Diaper Bank to provide free diapers to families under financial pressure. Partnering with the North Mississippi Exchange Family Center and the Bare Needs Diaper Bank, the group’s goal is to raise $4,000, which will provide 100 pallets of diapers.
The initiative is modeled after a similar organization in Athens, Georgia, which Leadership Lafayette member Elise Grenley volunteered for while living in that area several years ago.
“When my daughter was an infant, I became acutely aware of how expensive diapers were and the financial burdens faced by many families in the community,” Grenley said. “Those needs also exist here and our Leadership Lafayette group is excited to launch the Oxford Diaper Bank to help families in need. With the help of the LOU community, the Bare Needs Diaper Bank and the North Mississippi Exchange Family Center, we are working to make a difference.”
“We wanted to find something that could be everlasting, hopefully,” said Nadia Thornton, Visit Oxford Sales & Marketing manager. “We did a lot of research and had a lot of meetings with local organizations that we thought have a great impact and had a lot of outreach in the community that could take it over when we’re done with it.
“So in having this conversations, we partnered with the North Mississippi exchange Family Center,” Thornton continued. “They already do outreach into the community and it just seemed like a really great fit.”
The diapers will be procured by the Bare Needs Diaper Bank to serve the Oxford-Lafayette County community. A donation drive to collect new and unused diapers will be held July 14-29. Monetary contributions will also be accepted and should be in the form of checks made out to Oxford Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.
“I think it is important for people to know even if a box has been opened, as long as they have not been used, we will take them and repurpose them to someone who needs them,” said Thornton.
Drop-off locations are:
- Chamber of Commerce, 299 Jackson Avenue West
- FNB Bank, All Locations
- Visit Oxford, 1013 Jackson Avenue East
- First Regional Library, 401 Bramlett Boulevard
- Oxford Pediatric Group, 101 Farm View Drive
Following the drive, a diaper giveaway will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 30 at the Oxford Armory Pavilion. The North MS Exchange Family Center, which will serve as the host and affiliate for the Oxford Diaper Bank, will collect any remaining inventory for future distribution.
Families in need will be able to drive up to the pavilion and procure the necessary size and amount of diapers they need.
If anyone is unable to attend the drive, they can still obtain diapers through the North Mississippi Exchange Family Center located at 106 Skyline Drive. Individuals have to fill out an application in order to receive diapers.
“There is an application but it’s not to turn anyone away,” said Grenley. “It’s more record keeping. Those applications get sent back to Bare Needs Diaper Bank so they can make sure that all their books are adding up.”
As of Friday, the group has raised approximately $1,500, reaching almost 40% of their goal in three days.
“Oxford is a very philanthropic town, and they really do get behind charity,” Grenley said. “We’re just excited and we hope that everyone comes out and donates. Whether it’s monetarily or diversion, we can really help people in the community.”
In addition, Oxford Pediatric Group and Oxford’s First Regional Library will have permanent drop-off locations for community members to donate new or unused diapers. For more information on the Oxford Diaper Bank, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OxfordDiaperBank.