Helping Families from the Bottom Up
Provisional members celebrate a successful provisional members-only diaper sort during Diaper Needs Awareness Week 2019. Photo by: Whitney Haworth.

At the September General Membership Meeting of the Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO), the Diaper Bank Committee organized a baby shower themed diaper drive. The committee gladly collected League member donations, expanding the Diaper Bank’s impressive inventory. This was just one of many events the committee coordinated during this year’s National Diaper Need Awareness Week.

During the last week of September, organizations across the country, including the JLNO, hosted events to spotlight the need for frank conversation and real action to address and resolve this pressing issue. The Diaper Bank Committee organized a diaper sort and participated in 504ward’s Day of Service as a site for their volunteers to give back to their community in a meaningful and impactful way. They used print advertising and social media outlets in their awareness campaign to rally support and local participation. These efforts were rewarded when Women United, a leadership group of the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, presented JLNO with a $10,000 grant to further the cause of providing babies with clean diapers across the region.

The JLNO Diaper Bank project has been servicing New Orleans’s communities since 2014. Thousands of people in need have benefited from this service over the years, but as Diaper Bank Committee Co-Chair Alyse Mouledoux says, “Our distribution partners are the true heroes; they see the actual faces of diaper need and its consequences on a daily basis.” These distribution partners include daycares, health clinics and community centers that span the Greater New Orleans area.

Michelle Black, Director of Maternity Services at Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, notes ACCESS Pregnancy Centers distributed 120,000 diapers last year, serving thousands of children. “We are able to serve so many families thanks to the generosity of the Junior League of New Orleans Diaper Bank,” she says. Those donations provide “nearly 60 percent of the diapers we distribute each month.” Without the aid of the Junior League’s Diaper Bank, many distribution partners fail to meet their monthly needs and have the grim task of turning families away when supplies run out.

But Diaper Bank distribution partners also see first-hand the impact that the Diaper Bank has on the families in our communities. Access Health Louisiana, a network of Federally Qualified Health Centers, operates more than two dozen clinics in 11 Southeast Louisiana parishes, says Chenier Reynolds-Montz, Director of Outreach, Development & Operations Support at Iberville Parish School-Based Health Centers and Operations Manager for Access Health Louisiana. Chenier notes they also operate 13 school-based health centers, including one at Warren Easton High School in New Orleans.

“The majority of our patients have Medicaid. Many others are uninsured. These families rely on the services they receive at our clinics,” Chenier remarks. She goes on to emphasize how important community partnerships like these are to local area nonprofits. “Each and every day, our Pediatric Care Teams witness the generosity of the Junior League of New Orleans each time they hand over a pack of diapers to a patient in need.”

It’s hard to quantify the true impact the Diaper Bank has on all their recipients, but our partners are witnesses to the gratitude felt by these individuals. Lisa Spence is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at the St. Bernard Community Health Center and a huge supporter of the Diaper Bank. “We have found that all of our parents are so appreciative of the diapers,” Lisa says. “It really helps them out, and just that small gesture provides them with ease.”

In addition to their targeted efforts during the annual awareness campaign, the committee always encourages members to hold diaper drives at their schools, workplaces and places of worship. They can provide a drive packet to help organizers set up and advertise for their drive.

Helping Families from the Bottom Up
The Junior League of New Orleans has founded it’s Diaper Bank to help families from the bottom up during Diaper Need Awareness Week. Photo by: Stacey Stiel.

 

Helping Families from the Bottom Up
Active Lynn Spearman helped to sort, package and store diapers at the JLNO Diaper Bank. Photo by: Stacey Stiel.

 

Helping Families from the Bottom Up
Provisional members sort diapers during Diaper Needs Awareness Week 2019.Photo by: Whitney Haworth.