“I WANT TO BE ABLE TO HELP PEOPLE WHEN I GET OLDER.”
“I DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY.”
“I WAS NEVER MADE TO FEEL ASHAMED.”
“SERVING TOGETHER IS A MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCE.”
“VOLUNTEERING HAS CHANGED MY STORY.”
“LET’S GO FOR A WALK!”
“THE WORK THEY ARE DOING IN OUR SCHOOLS IS TRANSFORMING YOUNG LIVES AND I’M SO GRATEFUL TO BE A PART OF THAT.”
“WITHOUT THE [SUPPORT OF] UNITED WAY, I DON’T THINK S.N.A.P. WOULD BE AS GREAT AS THEY ARE.”
“I WANT TO HELP OTHER KIDS WITH DISABILITIES LEARN.”
“I’VE BEEN SO HAPPY SINCE GETTING MY OWN PLACE. NOTHING CAN BREAK MY JOY!”
“SHERRY AT THE YWCA HELPED ME MOVE ON AND PROGRESS. SHE LISTENED WITHOUT BEING JUDGMENTAL, AND SHE REALLY CARED.”
“BEFORE THE YMCA, I COULDN’T GET MY MIND STRAIGHT TO FINISH SCHOOL. THEY’RE HELPING TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.”
“THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS GAVE MY KIDS A FREE PLACE TO GO SO THAT I COULD COMPLETE MY NURSING DEGREE.”
“I’VE BECOME MORE GENEROUS AND AWARE BECAUSE OF MY TIME HERE.”
“I’M LUCKY TO BE ABLE TO USE MY PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS TO CONNECT WITH MY COMMUNITY AND HELP OUT.”
“I KNOW MY CALLING. I WANT TO HELP THE ELDERLY BY BECOMING A HOME HEALTH AIDE.”
“IF YOU HAVE A HEART FOR CHILDREN, YOU’RE CAPABLE OF BEING A FOSTER PARENT.”
“IT WAS VERY HELPFUL HAVING THIS PERSON IN MY LIFE WHO HAD BEEN THERE TO HELP ME DO THE RIGHT THING.”
“IT DOESN’T TAKE MUCH MORE THAN A PHONE CALL AND A COUPLE OF VOLUNTEERS.”
“WE’RE HOLDING OUR OWN NOW. OUR HEADS ARE FINALLY ABOVE WATER.”
“NOW I’M ON MY WAY. I FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF. I FEEL LIKE I CAN BE A PROVIDER FOR MY CHILDREN.”
“I WANT TO GIVE HER THE BEST START POSSIBLE BECAUSE SHE LOVES TO LEARN AND WE WANT TO KEEP FEEDING THAT LOVE.”
The Battle Creek and Kalamazoo region showed its generosity once again by donating 55,134 new diapers to the area’s first United Way Diaper Drive, exceeding the drive’s goal of 50,000 in just five days.
United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWBCKR) spearheaded the drive, which brought together residents, businesses, nonprofits and volunteers to donate, collect, repackage, and deliver the diapers to 47 nonprofit agencies that will distribute the diapers to families in need.
Today’s repackaging of donated diapers by more than 100 volunteers took place on United Way Day of Action, a global day of volunteerism promoted by United Way Worldwide.
“We’re so proud of everyone who made this drive a success,” said Alyssa Stewart, Associate Director of Strategy and Engagement for UWBCKR. “There’s such a generous, giving spirit in our regional community. That spirit will help thousands of babies receive diapers while supporting infant health.”
The drive ran June 16-20, with public collection sites at Kellogg Community Credit Union locations, OnStaff Group locations and UWBCKR offices. Dozens of area businesses and nonprofits collected donations as well. All the donated diapers were brought to two repackaging centers—W.K. Kellogg Auditorium in Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo RESA West Campus in Kalamazoo. Volunteers worked in two-hour shifts today to repackage the diapers for distribution. Among the many groups volunteering was Western Michigan University’s Bronco football team.
According to Stewart, families in or near poverty often find diapers for babies are a source of financial stress. Sometimes that means families are forced to leave babies in a diaper for longer than they should, which puts an infant’s health at risk, she said.
Infants in the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo region, particularly babies of color or from low-income families, face a higher risk of death in their first year. In fact, African-American babies in the region are more likely to die before their first birthday than are babies in Libya, Mexico and other developing countries.
Stewart said UWBCKR hopes to make the United Way Diaper Drive an annual event. “The need for donated diapers is far greater than 50,000. This gives families in need a welcome boost, and we hope to do even more in the future,” she said.
Sponsors of the United Way Diaper Drive are UWBCKR, CTI Mechanical Contractors Inc., Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services, Kellogg Community Credit Union, Molina Healthcare, OnStaff Group, Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., and WWMT Newschannel 3. In-kind supporters include Battle Creek Public Schools, Costco, Heritage Chevrolet, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, Sam’s Club, Schlotzsky’s, Seelye Kia, and Two Men and a Truck.