Here in the Inland NW we know the joy of 4 seasons, but as Fall moves toward freezing temperatures, winter represents a season of tough choices for financially struggling families. Families who have been able to make ends meet with the help of community gardens and warm weather temperatures are now faced with needing winter clothes and sometimes huge heating costs. Social workers talk about parents going without adequate food and clothing as they struggle to provide for their children.
How can you help? Conduct a winter clothing drive. Support local food banks, heating programs and organizations like Inland NW Baby who work to meet the basic needs of children. Poverty is not something we talk about easily. The kids who can't go outside at recess because they don't have a coat, the students that children are sharing their lunch with, the kids going home to a cold house after school are all images we don't think about as possibly representing our neighbors.
Something so simple as donating a package of diapers to a struggling family can have a huge impact. Call our office at 499 0670 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out ways you can get involved or donate to a family in need.
For a long time I have resisted having the history of Inland NW Baby on the home page because this organization is not about me, but the needs of babies in my community. I relented when someone told me that I could inspire more young people to take action if the story of Inland NW Baby was easier to find.
In 2009, as an eighth grade student, I read an article in Time magazine written by a diaper bank director in CT who had observed a mom entering a restroom, emptying a soiled diaper and placing it back on her baby. The author went on to say that there is no federal, state or local support for diapers, it is a totally out of pocket cost for families, even those living below poverty levels. At the time I knew nothing about diapers or babies as I am an only child. But the thought of a baby having to sit too long in a wet or dirty diaper made my heart hurt.
I decided to hold a diaper drive. I asked everyone I knew to contribute and gathered 3500 diapers, pull ups and wipes to take to St. Anne Family & Children Center in downtown Spokane. I was blessed to have a professional film crew accompany the drop off and it became my first YouTube video. I emailed the link to the author of the article because I wanted her to know what she had inspired a teenage boy across the country to do. We emailed back and forth and she invited me to Seattle where she was going to be speaking so we could meet. While I was in Seattle I had the opportunity to tour WestSide Baby, an established diaper bank. I was overcome with the level of need and what they were able to accomplish out of their, at the time, tiny space. Diaper need tugged on my heart some more and on the way home I told my mom that I thought I was supposed to start a diaper bank in Eastern Washington. Turns out it would be the first one. In April 2010 Inland NW Baby was incorporated.
Inland NW Baby is the only diaper bank in the Greater Spokane area. In fact, other than Tri-Cities Diaper Bank, it is the only one in Eastern Washington. Our distribution area covers Moses Lake to Post Falls, ID and north to Colville. We have partnerships with 34 different agencies/programs and supply several of the diaper pantries/cupboards in Spokane who distribute directly to the public. When I was putting the mission statement together it was clear to me that I did not want to duplicate any existing programs. I wanted to help them grow stronger and be able to serve more families.
Inland NW Baby just held its 4th annual Stuff The Bus Community Diaper Drive and with the support of nearly 100 volunteers and countless donors gathered the equivalent of nearly 96,000 diapers. While this is a significant increase over last year's 50,000, it is sadly not enough to meet the needs of families living in extreme poverty in my community. Inland NW Baby will continue to create awareness of the need for diaper support. To date INWB has distributed nearly 100,000 total diapers and will likely distribute nearly that in the year 2013. Please visit our Get Involved page to learn how you can help impact the lives of babies. We warmly welcome volunteers as young as 5 years old.
I recently graduated from Central Valley High School and will be attending the University of Washington in the Fall. I believe that my generation has the passion, skills and energy required to make a difference in our communities and our country. Youth are not afraid of limits or failure, we see possibilities.
Inland NW Baby was incorporated in April 2010 and began distributing in September 2010. To date we have:
1) Collected and distributed nearly 160,000 diapers.
2) Filled nearly 7,000 requests for diapers, clothing and equipment for children throughout Spokane, Stevens and Grant counties.
3) Built relationships with 33 different agencies in Spokane, Stevens, and Grant counties for distribution to families.
4) Welcomed volunteers of all abilities and as young as 5 years old.
5) Washed/Mended over 5,000 lbs. of clothing that might have otherwise ended up in the landfill or rag bin.
6) Developed and presented the 2013 Chocoholic Frolic Spokane a 5k Fund Run/Walk, which had 500 registered participants. 2nd annual is scheduled for November 8th, 2014. This is INWB's only fundraising event.
7) Conducted Stuff The Bus 2013 Community Diaper Drive which gathered 100,000 diapers. Thank you to Walgreens, Trading Company and Albertsons, our retail partners.
8) Developed and presented Babyfest 2012. The first free event in the valley to provide education, resources and entertainment.
9) Placed 3rd in Allstate Insurance's Cash For Your Community Campaign and received $5,000.
10) Participated in Loon Lake's Community Holiday Event. We helped provide toys, books, hats, coats, gloves and more for 325 children.