What started as a partnership to provide services to mothers battling addiction exploded during the pandemic into the largest order the National Diaper Bank has ever seen.
“It just started picking up and picking up and picking up,” said Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership’s Community Services Manager Cirell Howard.
MYCAP has partnered with Project MKC (formerly Making Kids Count) since 2019 providing diapers to agency customers, pregnant womenh fighting addiction and those enrolled with the Mahoning Valley Pathways HUB fighting against infant mortality.
In direct response to COVID-19, Project MKC asked MYCAP to become an Emergency Diaper Bank. The number of diapers grew exponentially and other items were added. Since creating the Emergency service, 10,800 people have been served. To date, they have dispersed 284,000 diapers and 200,468 baby wipes.
“Project MKC provided the items that were normally distributed in schools and at after-school programs,” Howard said. “Everything that people had that was being donated, we gave out. Because everything was closed, they had no way to distribute anything else.”
Distributed items included:
- 625 coats
- 500 pairs of boots
- 10,000 socks and other clothing items
- 50 car seats
- 50 baby gates
- 50 high chairs
In addition to Project MKC, partners included Akron Children’s Hospital, SafeKids, The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund, CareSource and more. Baby formula was also distributed occasionally during the peak of the shortage.
Now with more community groups reopening, Howard still hands out 1,200 to 1,500 diapers and wipes to at least 65 families every week. In all, MYCAP gives out approximately 7,000 diapers every month to up to 300 customers. That volume led Howard to place an order for 14,000 diapers on Nov. 1 to finish out the year. Project MKC also now supplies feminine hygiene products and hygiene kits. And the other items continue to come, she said.
“I’ve gotten hundreds and hundreds of things and it’s huge. It’s not just a diaper bank anymore,” she said.
Customers needs are also assessed individually with referrals made to MYCAP’s utility assistance, weatherization, senior services and other programs. Approximately 75 referrals are made to other agencies in Mahoning County each month.
“It really runs smoothly,” Howard said. “We always help in emergencies.”
Learn more about MYCAP at www.mycaphelp.org.