Diapers are a fact of life for families with infants and toddlers, but most assistance programs do not pay for them. For families struggling to pay their bills and feed their children, diapers are an added cost that stretches their budget to the breaking point. Ford's nonprofit agency partners reported a critical need for diapers – and baby formula – among low-income families, and the Ford Volunteer Corps stepped in to help.
"Ford employees and their families are part of the community, and we try to help our neighbors in any way we can," said Janet Lawson, director, Ford Volunteer Corps. "It is so gratifying to be able to help and to see Ford employees pitching in."
The Ford Volunteer Corps sponsored a diaper and baby formula drive at 15 Ford buildings in southeast Michigan. In just four days, Ford employees donated 25,000 diapers, 600 containers of formula, 900 packs of baby wipes and 10 strollers to help bridge the gap for families.
"The Ford drive, like every diaper drive run for our benefit, was deeply appreciated," said Marybeth Levine, executive director/founder, The Detroit Area Diaper Bank. "A community Diaper Bank is dependent upon area individuals, groups and businesses becoming actively engaged to ensure its long-term growth and success."
Once the diapers were collected, Ford Mobile Food Pantries were utilized to take the diapers and formula to several partner agencies. Ford volunteers packed four Transit Connects with the necessary cargo, unloaded them and repeated the process throughout the day.
"Ford volunteers do all kinds of different activities, but this time you could see the whole picture from people bringing in diapers to dropping them off at the agency," said Dave VanHoet, Ford Program Purchasing. "It really hits home when you see how many diapers they use in a week."
"It was very impressive to see the amount of diapers and formula Ford employees donated," said Lisa Jacobi, Ford Program Purchasing. "It was also interesting to learn how much the donations help. It made you proud as a Ford employee to be part of it."
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank distributes an average of about 20,000 to 30,000 diapers a month to nonprofit agencies. Local residents generously donate a wide variety of items to various organizations throughout the year, but not enough people think to donate diapers. The Diaper Bank is working to raise awareness of the need and provide a steady supply of diapers to nonprofits that serve families.
"We're extremely grateful to have been one of the organizations that benefitted from the Ford Diaper and Formula drive," said Levine. "Thank you for helping us make a difference with diapers!"