A national study found that one in three families struggle to afford diapers for their children.
Diapers are not covered by government programs like WIC or food stamps, and the average cost for a year of diapers is $1,200 per child.
The lack of diapers not only affects the child’s health and safety and the mother’s well-being and self-esteem, it often forces choices between paying bills, purchasing food or buying diapers.
In response to the need of families in the community, The River Ministry for Women in downtown Johnson City created the Changing Lives from the Bottom Up Diaper Subsidy Program in February 2013.
The program is designed to meet 25 percent of a child’s diaper needs for families living in Washington County. For children younger than 3, the ministry provides 28 diapers twice a month. The distributions are conducted from 9 a.m.-noon on the first and third Wednesday of every month at The River, 125 W. Main St., across the street from the Johnson City Transit station.
The River currently has 120 children enrolled in the program. Since its inception, the ministry has provided 177,993 diapers to families in need. To assist with the $1,392 cost of 6,960 diapers distributed each month, the Mooneyhan Family Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant to The River’s diaper ministry in October.
This funding combined with diaper drives and donations from various churches, organizations and individuals will contribute to the continuance of the program.
In other news on the ministry, The River Board of Directors recently voted to change the name of the diaper program from Changing Lives from the Bottom Up to the J. Walter Brown Diaper Subsidy Program in memory of the J. Walter Brown, the infant son of Amanda and John Brown, who passed away on Nov. 2.
The Board of Directors wished to honor Amanda Brown, who was employed at The River and assisted Marsha Garrison on diaper days.
To learn more about The River, call Stacy Larsen at 423-926-8111.