New home for Kansas City diaper bank blessed

Bishop Johnston blessed the volunteers, building, machines, forklift, van and diaper storage area at Happy Bottoms Diaper Bank August 22. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

Megan Marley

No buts about it: Happy Bottoms Diaper Bank is making a difference in the lives of Kansas City area babies.

A 2017 census estimates 20,000+ families in the Kansas City area living below the poverty level have babies who may need help getting diapers necessary to be happy and healthy. But regular government aid such as food stamps, WIC, SNAP and Medicaid don’t cover infant diapers, creating a stinky situation for these babes.

Following an initial diaper drive operated from her garage in 2009, mom and project manager/marketing whiz Jill Gaikowski saw the area community’s willingness to help and launched Happy Bottoms as a 501c3 nonprofit the following year. Since then, the organization has grown to help an average 3,716 children a month, now offers a potty-training education program, recently purchased a new shrink-wrap machine for packaging diapers and has outgrown its original packing and distribution facility in Lenexa, Ks.

“In order to serve more families, we need more space to store diapers,” Gaikowski said.

The facility is now relocated in a warehouse in the Waldo district of Kansas City, and Bishop Johnston blessed the new building and equipment August 22.

“The work you all are doing touches so many lives, so many families—it really is a holy thing,” Johnston told the 10 or so volunteers and staff gathered that day.

“Thanks for inviting me, and it’s an honor to come down and see what y’all are doing. It’s exciting…never thought I’d say diapers are exciting!” he concluded with a smile.

“Never thought I’d be excited about a machine that wraps diapers, but I am!” Gaikowski replied amid laughter.

Happy Bottoms provides 50 diapers or 30 training pants per month per child under the age of four for needy families living in Jackson, Clay, Platte or Cass Counties in Missouri or in Wyandotte or Johnson Counties in Kansas. It purchases most of its supply with cash donations since they get 60-80 percent off cost from manufacturers as a diaper bank, but they’ll never turn down physical donations of diapers.

And rather than directly distributing diapers, the organization partners with 37 area agencies offering a variety of social services.

“We’re finding out it’s really a good model, because oftentimes families are going to these agencies for the first time to get diapers and then they’re staying for all these other services that they need and might not have got,” Gaikowski explained. “Not a lot of people like to ask for help, but free diapers will get somebody’s foot in the door.”

To acquire aid through one of Happy Bottoms’ partners, applicants need three things: a form of personal identification, ID for the child that includes their name and date of birth and proof of financial eligibility/need. For more information on Happy Bottoms and its distribution sites, or to donate or volunteer, visit happybottoms.org.

Tags: 


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Saturday
October 19, 2019
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph