While there are 15 National Diaper Bank Network-member diaper banks in the state of Michigan, The Flint Diaper Bank is one of its kind.
Every four months, a truck rolls up to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan packed with 300,000 diapers for families in need—and with nowhere else to turn for help buying diapers. Even families on assistance are forced to choose between buying food and paying bills, or buying diapers for their children.
Through the food bank partnership, The Flint Diaper Bank will donate an estimated 1.2 million diapers for Genesee County families in need.
Mike Naddeo 2017
That compares to just under 1.6 million for all 15 of the National Diaper Bank affiliated agencies in Michigan—making The Flint Diaper Bank the largest in Michigan and among the largest nationwide.
Flint Businessman Phil Shaltz and WJRT’s Angie Hendershot founded the Flint Diaper Bank in 2012 and have been able to operate it with zero administrative costs so that 100 percent of donations can directly to purchasing diapers. Through the organization’s efforts, they are helping nearly 4,500 children from ages 0-3 who are living below the poverty line.
There is no federal assistance for purchasing diapers and nearly 1 in 3 families struggle to be able to afford diapers, according to information released by the White House under President Obama in 2016 as part of an effort to address the issue.
“The number one objective of any community is to take care of their constituents. And what better way than to worry and be concerned about the children?” said Shaltz. “The children are the helpless ones that are looking for the adults to provide the needed resources so they can be healthy and educated.”
The Flint Diaper Bank is funded through donations and grants as well as an annual fundraising and diaper drive hosted by ABC12-WJRT and Elga Credit Union. In May, the annual Diaper Drive raised a record $101,892.33—and next year, they hope to raise even more.
“The role the diaper bank plays is being an agency for the people, providing the necessary resources,” said William Kerr, president of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
The need for diapers is high in Genesee County, said Kerr, who noted that without clean diapers, children are at a higher risk for neglect and abuse.
For more information on the Flint Diaper Bank, you can visit www.theflintdiaperbank.org.