On June 5, Evanston-based diaper pantry, Bundled Blessings, hosted a “Pack-the-Truck” diaper drive and received almost 10,000 diapers, or about a two-week supply, in just six hours.

Co-chairs Nancy Brown and Sue Hagedorn said they were very pleased with the diaper gifts and support from the local community.

Ms. Brown mentioned that one key factor for Bundled Blessings’ success and continued growth is “support from the greater Evanston community and our church.” Ms. Hagedorn added that “there’s a dedicated leadership team of seven other church members who spend a lot of time and effort to get the work done.”

Bundled Blessings Co-chairs Nancy Brown and Sue Hagedorn in the Diaper Pantry. (Photo by Jim Young)

It all started when Mary Rawlinson, an intern at First United Methodist Church, came up with the idea for a diaper pantry and launched it in the fall of 2013, initially serving 20 babies through two partnerships.

Today, the organization serves almost 450 babies per month with 50 diapers, a total of 22,500 diapers per month, through 12 partnerships. Krys Juleen, a former co-chair and current volunteer, said “the National Diaper Pantry has deemed that the diaper deficiency is about 50 diapers per baby per month.”

The Heartland Alliance is the most recent organization to partner with Bundled Blessings, but that “we are looking to expand and partner with more organizations,” said Ms. Hagedorn.

Ms. Juleen said, “Diapers are not paid for by any State or federal programs such as SNAP, WIC or Food Stamps,” whereas adult diapers are covered by Medicare. State Representative Robyn Gabel added that, as a recent grandmother, she “understands the importance of diapers from a health perspective, and also recognizes their cost.”

Bundled Blessings Co-chair Sue Hagedorn, State Representative Robyn Gabel, Mayor Daniel Biss, and State Senator Laura Fine, Co-chair Nancy Brown. (Photo by Jim Young)

State Senator Laura Fine said she “appreciates the hard work and dedication” of the Bundled Blessings’ volunteers, expressing hope that Bundled Blessings would continue to expand its geographic reach and impact.

Acknowledging the role Bundled Blessings plays in creating a more equitable Evanston, Mayor Daniel Biss said he was very impressed with its mission, and that the City will continue to be supportive of Bundled Blessings.

Ms. Hagedorn, who has volunteered in different capacities since the organization’s inception, remarked that she was “impressed and appreciated the attendance and engagement of Mayor Biss, Sen. Fine and Rep. Gabel.” Ms. Hagedorn also expressed her “deep appreciation for Northwestern University.”  She said that when “we needed a loading dock, NU stepped up.”

“Dave Davis goes out of his way to be helpful,” she added.

Ms. Hagedorn offered several ways for community members to help out:

  1. Organize a “Diaper Drive”
  2. Donate diapers – there are “Red Barrels” at the Evanston Public Library and Little Beans, among other locations throughout the community
  3. Come volunteer on distribution days
  4. Provide monetary support (donations are 100% tax deductible)