Howell County Commissioner Mark Collins, seated left, and West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlmann, seated right, proclaim Sept. 23 through 29 Diaper Awareness Week. Standing, front row from left: Paula Speraneo, Randa Hugg and Moria Seiber. Back row: Othaniel ben Emunah, Dawn Hicks, Terry Hampton and Kay Mead.  

One in three families struggle to provide enough diapers to their babies each day, say leaders of an area organization stepping up to bring awareness and action to the issue.

West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlmann and Howell County Commissioner Mark Collins joined members of the Focus on Babies Diaper Resource Center (DRC) Wednesday afternoon at Ozark Action to proclaim Sept. 23 through 29 as Diaper Need Awareness Week in Howell County and the city of West Plains.

An initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network, the week’s designation was created to mobilize efforts to help make a difference in the lives of the nearly 5.3 million babies in the U.S. age 3 and younger who live in poor or low-income families. Locally, the DRC joins that effort.

According to DRC there are no federal or state programs to assist with the purchase of diapers and babies in struggling families can be the hardest affected. Diaper banks such as DRC, function as storehouses for diapers like food banks do for food. Diaper banks rely on members of the community, churches and other organizations to hold diaper drives and diaper showers, and for individuals and businesses to provide monetary and in-kind donations to sustain their supply.

This month Ozark Independent Living is conducting a diaper drive through the end of September for the benefit of local babies.

The DRC was organized in 2015 with the mission to provide diapers to babies which are in need the most and receives support from local donations and the Diaper Bank of the Ozarks, of which DRC is an affiliate.

In four years of operation, more than 118,000 disposable diapers have been donated by DRC to these agencies for distribution to area families, with additional cloth diaper starter kits made available. Current distributing agencies include His Place House of Worship Diaper Ministry, Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center and Christos House. Individuals with needs should contact those agencies directly with inquiries. Cloth diaper starter kits are also distributed to Howell County families. For more information contact Dawn Hicks at the Howell County Health Department at 256-7078.

Donations of disposable diapers can be dropped off between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at Ozark Action, 701 E. Main St., West Plains. Ozark Action provides space for diaper storage.

Area churches, businesses, organizations or individuals who wish to contribute toward addressing the diaper need issue may email diaperresourcecenter@gmail.com or call 257-7184.

Follow “Diaper Resource Center - West Plains” on Facebook for updates.

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