At Fairfax Diapers, our goal is to ease the challenge of diaper insecurity and to raise awareness of this need in our community. Since the launch of Fairfax Diapers about 8 months ago, we have distributed over 73,000 diapers to clients receiving food at Food for Others.
I became aware of diaper insecurity in Fairfax County throughout my years of “pulling tickets” in the Food for Others warehouse. When collecting their monthly food, clients would regularly ask me for diapers too. Sometimes, clients would go so far as to ask if they could trade their food for diapers.
These interactions left me feeling helpless and frustrated that neither the food bank nor I could help them with an item so essential for the proper care of their babies. While Food for Others did have a small supply of diapers available for clients with referrals, most were not eligible to receive a monthly supply of this household basic.
I started doing some research on the resources available for families in need of diapers in Fairfax County. I was dismayed to learn that SNAP dollars cannot be used to purchase diapers.
Moreover, most day care facilities require parents to bring their own supply of diapers for their children. If parents are unable to afford diapers, they may be forced to miss work or to make tough choices about what they will forego in order to purchase diapers.
Next, I turned my attention to investigating what avenues were available to provide support to parents with diaper need. I found some smaller targeted operations that existed in Fairfax but nothing that could help people on a regular and consistent basis.
I decided to bring up the possibility of distributing diapers at FFO. They agreed to let me distribute diapers from the warehouse and give me storage space so my house wouldn’t be overrun with diapers!
In spring of 2019, I filed Articles of Incorporation, applied for 501c3 status, established a board, and started to get the word out about our mission. In a few short months, Fairfax Diapers grew from an idea into a reality.
With the help of people like you, our organization has successfully distributed over 2,000 packages of diapers to families in need. Additionally, we have recently begun supplying diapers to the Fairfax County Health Department’s visiting nurses. Later this month we will begin providing a monthly supply to Annandale High School’s food pantry.
I have been humbled to witness the kindness and wonderful support of so many people who believe in our mission.
We have received numerous generous financial donations to purchase diapers and the diaper drives hosted by mom’s groups, brownie troops, fitness clubs, elementary school student councils, swim clubs, and teens needing service hours have kept us stocked.
I encourage you to follow “Fairfax Diapers” on Facebook to stay updated on our work and to see how you can get involved with our mission to ease diaper insecurity for our clients!
Christine Kenny is the founder of Fairfax Diapers. She has been a volunteer at FFO since 2015.