The Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex’s Hosts New Diaper-Drive

Diapers are in demand.

When little ones go through eight to 12 diapers a day, the cost adds up – making the annual cost about $1,000. Families in need can’t afford transportation to warehouse discount stores to buy in bulk, leaving them no choice but to purchase supplies at local convenience stores which can double or triple the monthly cost.

Due to income constraints, disposable diaper “life” is sometimes extended by drying and re-using them. Babies can spend a day or more in one diaper, which often leads to diaper rash, staph, and urinary tract infections.

Most daycare providers require a full week’s supply of diapers and they don’t accept cloth diapers. Even free and subsidized, most childcare centers will turn away a child who arrives without a day’s supply of disposable diapers. Diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps.

Two months ago, The Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex began their Diaper Drive after Andrea Cascarano, founder of Do-Something Diaper Drive, attorney at Seaton Hall Law School, and executive director of Strategic Giving’s development team, spoke at one of the meetings. Diapers collected are donated to North Porch Women & Infants’ Centers, 620 Clinton Ave., Newark.

The mission of North Porch is to provide critical supplies for babies and toddlers in need. The first North Porch center was incorporated in 1984 in Newark by the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Newark.

“We are collecting them [diapers] because there’s a lot of people who can’t afford to buy them,” said JoAnn Dixon, Kiwanis past-president and current public relations person. “I don’t think people realize how important a clean diaper is. It can be very painful for a child. Diaper rash is not anything to sneeze at. It can be quite traumatic. I had a friend who was in a hospital. She was in a terrible accident. She couldn’t get herself to the bathroom. She ended up with diaper rash. It took her a long time to heal. She now has a deeper understanding and appreciation for what babies go through. Having clean diapers is a good thing.”

According to Dixon, there are more than 80 families in Caldwell that need to go to food pantries. She said, “If you don’t live in an environment where there are different needs, you don’t recognize.”

So far the Kiwanis Club has collected hundreds of diapers and the project will be on-going.

Diaper donations can be dropped off at The Caldwell Public Library, 268 Bloomfield Ave.; and The Caldwell Food Pantry, 14 Park Ave.

The Food Pantry runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with late hours on Mon. (until 6 p.m.) and Thurs. (until 5:30 p.m.). There is a cart in the foyer to leave donations as well. The cart is checked each evening and the donations are moved within a locked room. Or make a dollar donation to the Kiwanis Club and the club will buy diapers to be donated to North Porch.

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