Countywide drive collects more than 24,000 diapers for babiesPublished 9:24pm Monday, January 16, 2012
The Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition of Berrien County hosted a county-wide diaper drive and surpassed their goal by collecting more than 24,000 diapers.
“We are very grateful for the generosity of our community,” said Melissa Church, a parent liason for the Berrien County Great Start Parent Coalition. “The diaper drive was more successful than we could have ever hoped for and because of that we were able to help even more families in Berrien County.”
Local businesses, including all Berrien County Walgreens and Edgewater Banks, Brew Ha Ha and University Medical Center were diaper drop-off locations. Benton Harbor, Eau Claire, Galien and St. Joseph libraries, Benton Harbor–St. Joseph YMCA Preschool, Berrien RESA Administration Center, Blossomland Learning Center, Bridgman Elementary and Middle School, Countryside Academy, EP Clarke Elementary, Lakeshore High School, New Buffalo High School, Northside Child Development Center, St. Joseph High School and many area churches incuding Berrien Unitarian Universalist Church, Church of the Mediator, 1st Assembly of God, Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Stevensville United Methodist Church, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, and St. Peter’s United Church of Christ held diaper drives at their locations. Financial donations were also given by area residents, businesses, schools and churches, including Harbert Community Church, First Congregational Church, Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Barrett & Driscoll, MDs, PC and Bridgman Middle School. United Way of Southwest Michigan also provided Meijer gift cards.
Diapers were distributed to Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency, Safe Shelter, Emergency Shelter, the Link Crisis Intervention Center and home visiting programs that included Berrien RESA Parents as Teachers, Early Head Start, Nurse Family Partnership and Maternal-Infant Health Program.
“The diaper drive donations have allowed our staff to provide diapers to clients who are facing a temporary budget shortfall,” said Cheryl Bury, Nurse Family Partnership Program supervisor, Berrien County Health Department. “This is a small way to help reduce stress for the young mothers we are serving and help provide a necessary baby item. The diaper drive has also allowed us to provide diapers to new moms as we teach about diaper rash and normal newborn care. Without the support from the diaper drive, the Nurse Family Partnership Program would not have diapers to provide for our mothers.”
The Great Start System is a state-wide initiative that focuses on early childhood development. There are two pieces to Great Start – the Collaborative and the Parent Coalition. The Great Start Collaborative brings together social service agencies and providers throughout each county to develop a collaborative plan to address the needs of young children. The Great Start Parent Coalition mobilizes parent volunteers and focuses on advocating for funding and support of early childhood programs, and helps promote those programs in the community.
For more information about the Great Start Collaborative or the Parent Coalition, visit www.greatstartberrien.org