NORTHWEST INDIANA - The second annual Diaper Drive by Franciscan Health employees and partners collected 20,000 diapers, distributing them to local organizations and helping more than 1,000 families in Northwest Indiana.
"The Diaper Drive is something we host every October during Diaper Insecurity Month to make sure that families receive this need prior to the holidays," said Danielle Magana, Franciscan Health prenatal care coordinator. Two monetary donations a few weeks after the drive ended bolstered the final amount, Magana said.
The donations were distributed prior to the Christmas holiday to the following organizations in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties: Franciscan Health Crown Point and Hammond Prenatal Assistance Programs, Duneland Healthy Families, Mental Health America of Northwest Indiana, Nurse Family Partnership and the Women's Care Center.
Magana, who spearheaded this year's drive, credited Joan Culver, system director of transformation and Becky Tilton, community health improvement coordinator, with laying the groundwork for Franciscan's effort the previous year.
"The Diaper Drive started last year with the intention of serving Lake County and creating awareness in our community. We were instantly awed when we were able to collect over 8,000. This year's expansion and success allows us to serve so many more families across all of Northwest Indiana with resources and education about diaper insecurity," Culver said.
Tilton said Franciscan's prenatal assistance program made it a priority to do a drive like this. Diaper insecurity is an often overlooked factor that can lead to child abuse and neglect, which has increased in Lake County. "A lot of families were forcing their kids out of diapers sooner because they had another infant that they needed to pay for diapers," she said.
"Diapers are so expensive, Tilton said. "All the organizations receiving donations are so thankful that we did that and that Franciscan is taking the lead on this need in the community."
Magana is already thinking about the next drive, with plans to expand use of social media to get the word out. "The sooner we start, the better for the families."
Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Diaper Drive can call the prenatal assistance number at (877) 773-6285.
The following sites and organizations donated or acted as a drop-off site for donations: