Phil Shaltz was our speaker this morning. He painted a very enlightening (but also somewhat frightening) picture regarding the problem in Genesee County of the overwhelming need for diapers for under-privileged children. There are about 4500 children under 3 years old in Genesee County living below the poverty level. He explained that number remains constant because children in poverty who eventually grow out of the need for diapers are replaced by newborns (also in poverty) at about the same rate. It is estimated that the average baby needs about 8 diapers every day, meaning that it would take about 13 million diapers a year to keep 4500 babies in clean diapers around the clock! That’s a lot of diapers!!
The problem for low-income families is this — the Bridge card (federal assistance) can not be used to buy alcohol, tobacco, pet food/supplies – or diapers! Therefore, many families on federal assistance programs don’t have the $ to keep their children in clean diapers. Without clean diapers, children can’t be taken to day care centers, so someone must stay at home with the child, further reducing the chance for added income. Also, many low-income families don’t have clothes washers and dryers, so they use a local laundromat. However, laundromats don’t allow washing non-disposable diapers, so disposables are the only choice for many families living in poverty, and disposable diapers are very expensive. Due to the high cost, some families re-use disposable diapers, or simply don’t change diapers as needed. This often leads to problems such as the child being sick, or even abuse due to crying babies forced to set in soiled diapers all day or night.
Because of these issues, Phil started the Flint Diaper Bank several years ago to help distribute free diapers to the most needy families in Genesee County. This is a 501c-3 tax-free charity which operates solely on grants and gifts from the local community. Through a lot of hard work and commitment, the Diaper Bank now has a few large donors who, in addition to providing them with funds to buy diapers, also help in raising funds from the public to support the effort. The annual amount raised locally is about $150,000, with every dime spent on purchasing diapers, usually “seconds”, over-runs, and broken packages from the manufacturers and retailers. The Diaper Bank has NO administrative costs, in large part due to Phil’s tenaciousness and commitment.
ABC-12 and Elga Credit Union are two of their active supporters who have helped make the Diaper Bank a success. After many years and considerable effort, Phil has also teamed up with a company that re-packages the diapers provided by manufacturers and retailers into smaller packages of 25 diapers each, and the Eastern Michigan Food Bank distributes them through its distribution network. The Diaper Bank’s final cost per package of 25 is about $3.25, or $.13 per diaper, which is a fraction of the average retail cost. The Diaper Bank distributes about 1 million diapers annually, which is less than about 10% of the local need. However, it has a significant positive impact on those families that it reaches. Overall – a wonderful charity and great cause! Thanks, Kim, for having Phil speak this morning. I think we all learned something!
President Jack opened this a.m.’s meeting with 20 members present plus our speaker, Phil Shaltz, representing the Flint Diaper Bank. Kim Banat was our Speaker Chair, Joe Bushey served as our tail-twister and Floyd Olmsted sold 50/50 tickets (making sure that the winning streak continued for the former Breakfast Club members)!! As usual, fines began at the opening bell, not the least of which were against J-Lo and Joe Bushey for forgetting to set their alarms and trying to sneak in during the Pledge of Allegiance. The shame of it all! But Joe made sure he and J-Lo (and everyone else) paid their “fair share” of taxes — I mean fines. Just what is a “fair share” anyway? Sorry – I digress…
- Fund Raising Breakfast Meeting 7:30 AM February 12th
- Board Meeting 6 PM February 12th at the Bridge
- Big Brothers & Big Sisters Bowling at 7:00 February 19th at Galaxy Lanes on Hill Rd. in Grand Blanc
Don’t forget to join us on 2/12 for an important meeting about our largest annual fund-raising event and how we can hopefully improve upon it! Jack announced that Stephanie will chair next week’s meeting, which will be an open meeting to discuss the future of our $5000 Raffle. The Board would like some feedback from the club. Please try to be there for this important meeting!