Circle of Change - Monthly Giving

by Jake's Diapers, Inc.
Circle of Change  - Monthly Giving
Circle of Change  - Monthly Giving
Circle of Change  - Monthly Giving
Circle of Change  - Monthly Giving

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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We love our nonprofit partners, they are like that best friend that you can catch up with at any moment and they just get you. Because we’re in this together, serving people in need and improving lives one at a time.

We’ve partnered with other organizations since the beginning (when we launched in 2013) as a strategic way to reach more people than if we were directly distributing to those in need on our own. In this way, we serve two groups of people: our nonprofit partners and the people they serve.

Our nonprofit partners benefit from us because they don’t need to stress out about where to source the basic needs items that their clients need. Their clients benefit because they more regularly and easily have their needs met. Win-win!

Here are some heart warming stories from one of our great partners, CNY Diaper Bank. Since our partnership began in 2019, we’ve provided cloth diaper kits to 114 kids in need. That means 114 kids have stayed covered from birth to potty training, whose parents otherwise would have struggled to provide for this need. Plus, we’ve converted a few cloth lovers along the way. 

Check out two of their stories: 

After losing both incomes in what she says felt like overnight, Tiffany turned to CNY:

“We couldn’t afford even the bare minimum. This free cloth diaper program allowed us to save extra money while my husband looked for a job. And we continue to use them as we potty train our son and try to expand our family. CNY Diaper Bank has helped my family a lot. Not only with cloth diapers but providing a huge comfort in the form of an understanding, caring and compassionate person who not only helped my family but also listened to me during my time of need. Thank you.” – Tiffany L. 

And here’s one of those cloth lover converts:
“I would have never tried cloth diapering if it were not for your program. I was intimidated and didn’t think I would keep up with it. I’ve been cloth diapering for over a year now, with plans to keep going!” – Melissa B.

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The first human services agency to serve Green Bay (starting in 1899!), Family Services is now a diverse organization solving complex community problems one program at a time. 

One of those programs is Parent Connection, a program that provides education opportunities to encourage, strengthen and support families. Together, Jake’s and Parent Connection are reaching families of young children in need. 

“Transitioning to parenthood can be difficult,” the organization says on its website, “which is why we’re here to help alleviate stress and provide the support you need to be there for your family.”

Now, you might assume that we’re here to talk about diapers. Afterall, this program is aimed at families of young children. While Jake’s does send diapers to Parent Connection to distribute to its families, we want to let you know: there’s more — and there’s something you can do to help.

We also work with Parent Connection to distribute period products to moms unable to otherwise afford these necessary hygiene products. Moms unable to afford diapers for their kids will likely also struggle to afford items to care for themselves, and our holistic help can alleviate loads of stress.

“The period supplies are appreciated by many,” says Kenlin Grams of Parent Connection in Oshkosh. “One mom in our program only has supplies when we are able to bring them to her. At this time, she has no daycare for her two children, so she is unable to work. The supplies are truly appreciated! Thanks Jake’s Diapers for all that you do in our community!”

In all of 2020, we were able to help 13,340 girls and women receive the period supplies they need. This is an increased demand due to COVID. Thanks for your help in making this program happen.

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Over the past three years, thanks to your support, we’ve been providing reusable cloth diapers to Ekisa Ministries. Located in Jinja, Uganda, Ekisa supports children with disabilities so they can thrive in families and communities. Most recently, they received cloth diapers for six kids in their Transitional Home, bringing cleanliness and dignity to the children Ekisa serves. 

Ekisa recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary, and Kristen, their founder, shares this letter: 

It is hard to believe that it has been exactly ten years since Ekisa first opened its doors as a residential home. It still feels like yesterday that we drove across town to pick up 3 children from another children’s home and introduce them, and one little one who had already arrived, to the Ekisa house. That first night with only 4 children and a handful of staff members, I don’t think any of us would have been able to imagine how much Ekisa would grow and change over the next decade. Not only have we cared for over 40 children in our residential home but we have had the opportunity to work alongside hundreds of families in Jinja as well as starting to extend our reach further to provide support and training for other organisations around the world.

It has been such a privilege to be a part of the story of Ekisa, and to have a front row seat to see all that God has grown it into over the last ten years. I think everyone who has worked at Ekisa would agree that it is not always easy; there have been heart-breaking and difficult times along the way, but I doubt anyone has left without being changed for the better by these children and their families. I know that is true for me even now that I’m not able to be a part of day-to-day life at Ekisa.

While so much has changed since that first night, the heart of Ekisa still remains the same, we want to celebrate each child for the unique and amazing people they are and we want to see every child grow up in a family and community that sees their worth. If I think back to those 4 children I tucked into bed that first night, I never could have guessed what God would do in each of their lives. They are all teenagers now and each has a different story, but they have all been given gifts and talents that make the world a better and more joyful place and I’m so grateful for each of them and all of the other children and young people that Ekisa works with.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you, whether you have supported us since the beginning or if you have joined the journey just recently; Ekisa would not be what it is today without your prayers and support. Thank you for being a part of this story, and I look forward to seeing all Ekisa can achieve in the next ten years! 

Sincereley,

Kristin, Co-Founder, Ekisa Ministries

Here at Jake's, we're looking forward to partnering with Ekisa for their next ten years (and beyond!). Thank you for making moments like this possible. Please reach me at stephanie@jakesdiapers.org with any questions or comments you may have. I'd love to hear from you. 

~ Stephanie

 

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“I’ll never forget how thankful she was. It was a truly beautiful experience.”

Meagan Johnson taught cloth diaper basics in Milwaukee for a couple years, but in spring 2020 met a mom that would shift her trajectory.

“She was a single mom of a baby boy, and she couldn’t afford the start-up cost of cloth diapering,” Meagan said. “But, her baby had severe eczema, and disposable diapers made it worse.”

The mother was looking for someone willing and able to donate cloth diapers to her. Meagan said she had a “large collection” of diapers herself, so she compiled a kit and dropped them off on the family’s front porch.

“Her gratitude and the relief she felt was overwhelming,” Meagan said. “She felt a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders, because now she wouldn’t have to worry about budgeting for diapers, and most importantly, her son’s skin could now heal.”

This memorable experience inspired Meagan to dig deeper into diaper need. In Milwaukee, the poverty rate in 2020 was 25.4 percent, while the national average sat at 9.2 percent, she said. The hard truth was that 68% of families with children in Milwaukee qualify for low-income status, and there were not resources to meet diapering needs.

“I decided to launch a small cloth diaper lending program, but when I started looking for a local diaper bank to partner with – there wasn’t one,” Meagan said. “After that realization, and doing a lot of research about diaper banks around the country – I knew this needed to be something bigger.”

That’s why Meagan launched the Milwaukee Diaper Mission, one of Jake’s newest Network of Hope partners. The program distributes disposable and reusable diaper and period product kits through a handful of community partners.

“The majority of the families we serve are Black and Latinx, and most are living well below the poverty line,” Meagan said. “Access to basic needs items was already difficult for these families, and the pandemic has made it even more of a challenge. Families are regularly having to choose between food or diapers, and government assistance programs do not offer diapering support. With 1 in 3 families struggling to afford diapers, and 1 in 4 menstruating individuals unable to afford period products, we are an essential organization for this city.”

Jake’s sent its first shipment to Milwaukee Diaper Mission in early 2021.

“We just received a large shipment today and we cannot wait to get them out into the community! Thank you so much for this amazing support,” Meagan said.

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Organization Information

Jake's Diapers, Inc.

Location: Neenah, WI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @jakesdiapers
Project Leader:
Cheryl Tiedt
Jake's Diapers, Inc.
Little Chute, WI United States
$7,815 raised of $43,200 goal
 
162 donations
$35,385 to go
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