Send Cloth Around the World to Keep Babies Healthy

by Jake's Diapers, Inc.
Send Cloth Around the World to Keep Babies Healthy
Send Cloth Around the World to Keep Babies Healthy
Send Cloth Around the World to Keep Babies Healthy
Send Cloth Around the World to Keep Babies Healthy
Send Cloth Around the World to Keep Babies Healthy
Send Cloth Around the World to Keep Babies Healthy

Have you ever wondered about the story of Jake’s? We were recently featured by one of our nonprofit partners as a featured Feel Good Friday story. We thought they did such a write up we’d share it with you! 

 For today’s Feel Good Friday we would like to highlight a partner located in Little Chute, Wisconsinwho is making a big wave - Jake's Network of Hope (also known as Jake’s Diapers, Inc.).

 Jake's Network of Hope was founded in 2011 when Stephanie, Executive Director and Founder (of what was then Jake’s Diaper’s), went on a women’s mission trip to Peru. On her trip, Stephanie visited an orphanage that was facing dire circumstances; forcing caregivers to reuse disposable diapers for the 15 babies that were in their care.

 When Stephanie had her son, Jake, she decided to use sustainable, reusable, cloth diapers. It was then that Stephanie made the decision to keep and collect the cloth diapers that Jake had outgrown, so that she could donate them to the orphanage she visited in Peru – and that’s how Jake’s Diapers got its start.

 Since then, Jake's Network of Hope has grown tremendously, and is currently the largest cloth diaper bank in the world. Now, in addition to helping families-in-need by providing cloth diapers, disposable diapers, feminine care products, and other adult care essentials, Jake’s Network of Hope has expanded to be able to provide families with all types of basic needs items - from clothing and blankets to kitchen supplies and toys for children.

 Because the need has grown so much, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in 2020, Stephanie and the team at Jake’s Network of Hope decided they needed to find a bigger location to move into. “(The new warehouse has) six times the space we were in, which is really exciting,” said Stephanie.

 Like many organizations, several of the volunteers at Jake's Network of Hope are retired individuals, who also happen to be more at risk due to the pandemic. This has meant a loss of essential volunteers during the pandemic. 

Thankfully, the new space that Jake's Network of Hope is moving into will allow them to invite a lot more volunteer groups to help out. “It’s a lot safer for volunteers, we’re able to work better and faster to help even more families in need. It’s just such a joy to be here.” said Stephanie.

 An organization that was started to help 15 orphans in Peru has grown into so much more. Jakes Network of Hope has now helped more than 63,000 people in more than 60 countries.  “To me, it’s totally mind blowing," said Stephanie. "I can’t believe that right now, we are loading diapers to help babies in Liberia. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Read more about Jake’s Network of Hope on their website and check out these news articles on nbc26abc2, and USA Today  to learn more.

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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

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Jake’s Network of Hope partners with Abide, a Uganda nonprofit, to provide cloth diaper kits to parents struggling to provide basic needs.

Monica, a 24-year-old single mother, fed her infant sugar water and black tea as a last resort - all the while wondering whether this is how raising her son would go.

“On a lucky day, well wishers from my community would give me cow's milk for the baby," she told Abide Family Center Uganda, a Jake’s Network of Hope partner. Monica believed that her son Henry belonged with her, the organization wrote on this Facebook post. She wanted the best for him; however needed additional support to achieve this important goal in her life. 

"I found life hard," Monica recalls. “I used to think, is this going to be my life? Is my son going to grow up this way?"

After connecting with Abide, the organization explains what happened next:

  • Monica received formula (she still does) for her son Henry. 
  • She was enrolled into our business and parenting class where she graduated and received certificates upon graduation. 
  • After graduation, Abide worked with Monica and helped her start a second hand clothes business which is doing very well. 
  • Monica's goal to stay with her son and be able to take care of him has been achieved.

Monica’s little boy also received cloth diapers from kits sent by Jake’s Network of Hope. 

Abide works with parents to help them achieve self sufficiency. Over 80% of the children living in orphanages in Uganda have at least one living parent, being raised away from their families because of poverty, not because they are unloved or unwanted. 

Our cloth diaper kits provide an additional resource so that more parents like Monica can afford to better their situation and take care of their children. It won’t be long before another mom like Monica walks through their door, and we need your help. 

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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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Four months pregnant at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one New York couple soon found themselves unemployed while awaiting the birth of their child.

“My partner and I both lost our jobs, and we were worried about being able to buy diapers after the stash of disposables we were gifted at our baby shower inevitably ran out,” the mom said. “I stumbled upon CNY Diaper Bank while researching affordable reusable cloth diapering options. I reached out on a whim, really just to ask questions about getting started with cloth diapers, and was met promptly with aid and kindness.”

CNY Diaper Bank is based in Syracuse, NY, and shares our mission to solve diaper need for families in its area. CNY is one of Jake’s partners and was able to provide this family with a cloth diaper kit to meet the diaper need for their infant, while also alleviating financial and other stressors related to not having enough diapers

“This pandemic has immensely affected our income, and can’t have come at a worse time for me having been preparing to welcome a child into my home,” the mom said.

With the help of Jake’s Diapers, the CNY Diaper Bank provided cloth diapers to 22 children (15 families) in 2019 and year-to-date in 2020 (through October) provided cloth diapers to 62 children (42 families).

“It is invaluable to me to have help during this uncertain time which not only helps us save on the upfront cost of cloth diapering but also the daunting cost of buying disposable diapers throughout the years,” the mom said. “It is also nice to know we are doing a little something to help fight climate change. We are so thankful.”

Cloth By the Numbers
January to October 2020

12,813 cloth diapers distributed
$199,366 in cloth diaper value
911 lives impacted

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Organization Information

Jake's Diapers, Inc.

Location: Neenah, WI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @jakesdiapers
Project Leader:
Lyssa Schmidt
Neenah, WI United States
$1,637 raised of $25,000 goal
 
34 donations
$23,363 to go
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