Circle of Change

by Jake's Diapers, Inc.
Circle of Change
Circle of Change
Circle of Change
Circle of Change
Cloth Cares for Kids in Kyiv
Cloth Cares for Kids in Kyiv

Cloth diapers are offering a layer of comfort for a pair of sisters and their young children, separated from their husbands and dads as the conflict in Ukraine continues. 

Claudia Pardo is hosting the Ukrainian refugees in her Switzerland home. Some Ukranians working at the United Nations created a nonprofit to connect hosts and refugees, and when she found out she applied. 

“They are from Kyiv. They left when the bomb/war started,” Claudia wrote. “The dads wanted them to be safe.  They left and spent days/weeks moving around in Europe (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria). Once I confirmed I could host them, they came here.”

The group includes the two sisters and their 3 children, all ages 2 and younger. Their husbands and parents are still in Kyiv, as men ages 18 to 60 years old are not allowed to leave Ukraine unless they have more than 4 children or have disabilities, Claudio explained.  

“They feel grateful to be here and safe, but guilty they can have peace while the rest of their family/friends are under conflict,” Claudio said, adding that the uncertainty of the conflict takes its toll, too. “The moms are always very anxious until they can have the daily call with family at home to make sure they are still alive/good.”

Claudia reached out for cloth kits from Jake’s to ease the financial burden of diapers on the group. There was a transition getting used to the new material and cloth process, but Claudia said it has already made a difference. 

“They still don’t feel comfortable wearing cloth when they go out, but are getting there bit by bit!  So far, it’s been really helpful given the high costs of diapers!” she wrote. 

As the conflict continues, its unclear how long these refugees will need to continue sheltering in Claudia’s home. She said they use Google translate to overcome language barriers, and have adjusted to the extra activity that an additional 5 people brings to one home.

“It's really difficult for them to go from having completely independent lives to feel like a burden.  The amount of times they don't want to interfere and be discreet is amazing.  One of the moms shares a queen bed with the 2 year old and the girl falls off the bed multiple times in the week (although I added a bed rail) so when I suggested to add a mattress on the floor or a toddler bed for her, she said ‘I rather be awoken by the cries of my child because she fell off the bed than because we are being bombed.”

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As Jake’s continues to grow, we want to shed light on the diversity of the impact we make. Our partners include 501c3, school-based and faith-based groups that serve a diverse set of community needs, from foster care to afterschool programs, family needs and domestic abuse shelters, refugee work, poverty support, cancer patient programs and more. 

These collaborations mean partners can re-allocate time and money to instead focusing on their programs, while meeting human needs in the community. 

Today we are highlighting our partnership with Lakeshore Foster Families,  a Manitowoc County based, all-volunteer 501c3 that supports “foster and kinship children and the families who care for them by raising awareness and providing resources and support,” according to its website. In 2021, the program served 55 foster families and 170 children in foster homes.

Among the items foster families require are often, of course, diapers as well as feminine hygiene products. Lakeshore Foster Families and Friends receive diapers, pullups, wipes, and feminine hygiene products from Jake's. 

“Without this service, we would only help supply these items one time to new placements,” said Board President Molly Stolp. “This has had a huge impact on our families. In 2021, through this program, we were able to supply 706 packages of diapers, pullups, or feminine hygiene products. We are grateful.”

Foster families echoed the help our partnership provides. Here’s just a few words from foster families in the program: 

"We foster two children and this has helped offset monthly expenses. It makes fostering less burdensome financially.”

"It is one less thing that I have to worry about buying every month and every little bit helps.’

"Being able to give our foster kids the same love and support as our biological children.”

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When the pandemic began in 2020 and hygiene supplies were exceptionally limited, the Waushara County Dept. of Human Services identified a need to provide curbside pick up of essential infant care items along with food and other resources it mobilized to offer community members.

“Waushara County is a rural community in Central Wisconsin. There are no ‘big box’ discount stores available for the affordable purchase of infant diapers/wipes,” said Jan Novak, Waushara County Dept. Human Services. “Transportation creates a barrier for many of our local residents who would need to travel more than 50 miles to make these purchases.”

Jake’s and the Waushara County Health Department teamed up to open The Waushara County Diaper Pantry in April 2020. Since that time, there have been over 725 pantry visits and a total of  60,800 diapers have been distributed to families in need.

“Parents who receive this assistance are extremely thankful. It helps them manage household expenses and provide necessary supplies to appropriately care for their infant/toddler diapering needs.”

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As Jake’s continues to expand its reach in the community, we’re excited by the network of partners coming out of the woodwork - and all the great work we can do together.

Our partners are 501c3 nonprofits, faith-based or school-based organizations serving individuals in need because of a variety of circumstances, from financial struggles to foster care, cancer patients and more.

“Jake’s is a wonderful opportunity to expand the impact we make because it’s one-stop shopping at 20% of retail or even less,” said Deb, of Our Saviors Lutheran Church, and an active community partner. “We’ve actually encouraged our people to give money instead, because we’ve got people who will do shopping (for donated goods). There’s just so many opportunities.”

Over the holiday break, when Oshkosh School District Food service was closed, their program fed children at several locations within the district and during the last they distributed shoes, underwear, socks and hygiene products from Jakes. 

“What fun it was to see the children so thrilled to receive such beautiful, NEW items,” Deb said. 

Other examples of Oshkosh area churches that partnered to serve the community include: 

  • First Presbyterian Church in Oshkosh:  Stocked personal care items, hygiene items, mittens, hats, socks all purchased from Jake’s.
  • St. Andrews Lutheran - Oshkosh: Hosted a children’s fair to give out toys, provided books to literacy groups.
  • First English Lutheran - Oshkosh: Sourced items such as coats, books - feed hungry kids in the summer and we did a toy give away - we had the games that we gave. 

“Thank you for what you do,”  said Patricia of First Presbyterian Church, “so we can do what we do.”

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As kids went back to school and colder temperatures snuck in, Community Clothes Closet of Menasha noticed an increased demand for clothing and personal care products. Inventory was turning quickly, and the nonprofit wanted to do more to fulfill its mission of free clothing to all people in need.

At Jake’s Network of Hope, our warehouse is often overflowing with items like these! We were quick to partner with Community Closet as the organization launched its Traveling Closet to reach more children who need adequate apparel and bedding.

“Jake's Network of Hope has been instrumental in sourcing high-priority need items like bras, large-sized clothing, athletic shoes and children's apparel,” said Executive Director Lisa Jones. In fact, Community Closet sourced 7,457 items from Jake’s, including socks, underwear, sports bras, hoodies, Nike shoes, blankets, bedsheets, pillowcases, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, hairbrushes, sanitizing wipes, toilet paper, paper towel, hand sanitizer, and mouthwash.

“Clothing can open the door to a better future,” Lisa said, “When kids have the clothing they need, they are safe from the Wisconsin weather, more self-confident and participate more in the classroom."

The Traveling Closet made its debut on October 13 at the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh, in partnership with the Oshkosh Area School District. Children pre-registered for the event, and nearly 1,500 items left the truck to students.  The truck will be available for monthly distributions, with November’s truckload focused on winter gear, from snow pants to winter coats, winter boots and gloves for elementary-aged children.

Community Closet accessed many of these goods through Jake’s My Neighbor program, which provides essential daily living items to qualified partners - nonprofits, school- or faith-based organizations, for sharing fees that cost a fraction of retail value. January through October this year, we've distributed 56,820 daily essential living items to partners, who then share with people participating in their programs.

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Organization Information

Jake's Diapers, Inc.

Location: Neenah, WI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @jakesdiapers
Project Leader:
Scott Sawinski
Neenah, WI United States
$9,026 raised of $43,200 goal
 
201 donations
$34,174 to go
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