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Thanks for the Diapers and Answering Our Need

Posted on October 15, 2018 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

Campaign for Charity & Justice Answers Local Needs

Diapers, basic and essential for a baby’s health, cost close to $1000 per year per child, often a prohibitive cost for low-income families.  But thanks to a new antipoverty collaboration between parishes and Catholic Charities NY, babies and their parents in the impoverished upstate city of Newburgh, NY will now have this need addressed. Below are excerpts from a speech thanking Catholic Charities NY at a luncheon held October 11, 2018 for grantees at St. Denis in Hopewell Junction in Dutchess County.

By Susan Conner

President: Society of St. Vincent DePaul, Sacred Heart Church, Newburgh

We are so very thankful to Catholic Charities for giving us the opportunity to grow our ministry and continue to help those in need in the City of Newburgh through our Baby Center.

Based on our experience, we knew there was a great need for diapers, hygiene products, and rent and utility assistance.  So, we opened a Baby Center in a space in the former Sacred Heart School in Newburgh this summer. 

There is nothing more frustrating than knowing that a mom has walked to our Center with baby in tow, only to be told that we are out of the size diaper she needs or we don’t have toilet paper this week. 

How will this grant impact our efforts?  It will help in so many ways.  We will be able to provide more diapers and hygiene products per family per visit, instead of turning families away because “we have run out” of their requested item. 

This diaper grant represents one of 27 parish grants Catholic Charities gave out to cover innovative projects parishes to address local need in every county in the archdiocese, from Staten Island all the way up to Sullivan County. Initiated by Cardinal Dolan, the grant opportunities were formally announced at New York churches last year at the special Sunday-before- Thanksgiving collection typically taken to help fund U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) charitable work nationwide.  But this time a portion was set aside, enabling local parishes and community organizations to draw on Catholic Charities’ expertise as they brainstormed how to best target charitable funds to serve their own neighbor’s needs. 

The need is so great in Newburgh.  According to the latest data from DataUSA, there are 25,406 who live in the City of Newburgh:

  • The poverty rate is 33% (The national average is 14%).
  • It is a very diverse community where 49.8% are Hispanic, 25.4% are black, and 20.3% are white. 
  • 46.2% speak a language other than English and 83.4% are citizens of the US. 
  • The median age is 28, the age when many women are in child bearing years. 

We are open on Tuesdays from 9-12.  We give out packs of 12 diapers along with a package of wipes weekly, hygiene kits once a month, baby clothes from NB to 2T, and other baby items as they are requested and/or donated to us.  This includes strollers, bassinets, and pack and plays.  We also provide layettes to expectant mothers who visit us.  The first week of operation, we had 3 families visit us.  We are now up to 20 family visits per week and we hope to build that number up to 50 family visits per week.  Our current number of registered families is 55.

We will also be able to increase the number of diapers in each pack. A study done by the National Diaper Bank and Huggies found that 36% of families fall short of 19 diapers per month. 

We will aid in lessening a moms’ embarrassment and stress levels of not being able to provide for their babies. Some moms miss work if they have run out of diapers.  It is a Catch-22 situation.  It costs around $900 per year per child for diapers; it is not provided by WIC , and a mom may lose wages if she misses work to take care of a child without enough diapers.

We will help keep infections and doctor’s visits at bay by being able to provide enough diapers so a child doesn’t have to spend a long time in a dirty diaper. The hygiene products will help to provide soap, toilet paper shampoo, deodorant, sanitary pads, toothpaste, and toothbrushes for the family.

A certain portion of the grant monies will be used for rent and/or utility payments. Again the impact will be felt by those who may otherwise be without light or heat, be evicted, or homeless.

The next parish collection to fund pilot programs like this Newburgh Diaper Program will be held the last Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 18, 2018, at church services throughout the Archdiocese of New York.

The Deacon Dominick Cassadone Chapter of the Society of St. Vincent dePaul is very grateful to be one of the awardees of this year’s Catholic Charities Campaign for Charity and Justice Grant.    

Thank you!

Does your parish need help with a special anti-poverty project?

Apply for a Catholic Charities Campaign for Charities & Justice Grant