Diapers distribution program set for Washington County families

Sue Guinn Legg • Apr 16, 2013 at 4:37 PM

The River Ministry for Women is launching a new diaper subsidy program for Washington County families with small children in need.

“Changing Lives From The Bottom Up” will provide 56 diapers per month for children less than age 3 beginning Wednesday at The River resource center located in downtown Johnson City at 125 W. Main St.

Because diapers come at an average cost of $1,200 a year per child and are not covered by government food subsidy programs, The River’s goal is to significantly improve the lives of infants, toddlers and their families by providing 25 percent of the diapers a child needs each month.

Stacy Larsen, executive director of The River, cited a recent national survey that found one in three families struggle to afford the cost of diapers for their children.

“The lack of diapers affects the child’s health and safety and in turn negatively impacts the mother or caregiver’s sense of well-being and self-esteem,” she said.

A resource ministry for women in need operated by Johnson City’s First Presbyterian Church, The River women who are homeless or of low income are provided with an affordable laundry, showers, hair care and an array of other services, referrals and support to help improve their circumstances.

Recognizing the special need of mothers who are without means to buy diapers and with no other option available reusing soiled diapers, the ministry sought funding to provide help. In February, the Harris Fund of Washington County awarded the minsitry a $5,000 grant to begin the program and a subsequent partnership with the Tri-Cities Diaper Ministry of Bristol has allowed it to provide greater assistance than otherwise would have been possible.

The program is designated for Washington County families with children less than age 3, and others with special needs or disabilities.

Registration will be held from 9-10 a.m. and diapers will be distributed from 10 a.m.-noon beginning Wednesday and continuing on the first or third Wednesday of every month.

Participants should bring proof of current residency such as a utility bill or a dated letter with a shelter or service agency letterhead, photo identification and a birth certificate for each participating child.

More information about the diaper ministry and other programs at The River may be obtained by calling The River at 926-8111 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

More information about the Tri-Cities Diaper Ministry of Bristol may be obtained by calling Samuel Jones at 742-5639 or going to www.tricitiesdiaperministry.org.

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