Circle of Change

by Jake's Diapers, Inc.
Circle of Change
Circle of Change
Circle of Change
Circle of Change

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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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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Organization Information

Jake's Diapers, Inc.

Location: Neenah, WI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @jakesdiapers
Project Leader:
Scott Sawinski
Neenah, WI United States
$11,052 raised of $43,200 goal
 
261 donations
$32,148 to go
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