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Helping wellness by providing clean diapers

Lighthouse column
By: Angela Ponivas, M.S.W. Special to The News Messenger
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Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center is considered a local diaper bank. Last year, Huggies gave Lighthouse 100,000 diapers and these diapers were distributed to low-income families throughout Placer County. Lighthouse has become a part of the National Diaper Bank Network and Sept. 10 through Sept. 17 is “Diaper Need Awareness Week." The week will kick off in Washington, D.C. where the inaugural Diaper Bank Conference will be held. Forty diaper bank leaders from across the country will gather to learn the most effective ways to solicit and stretch their donations. You may wonder, “What do diapers have to do with wellness?” Well, it has been so interesting to find out that diapers are as essential to a family’s overall wellness, as food and shelter. It is indeed a basic need, and without our basic needs being met, we cannot even begin to discuss wellness. Our first and foremost concern for wellness should be our individual health, as well as the health of our community. About two years ago, our family resource manager, Rina Rojas, realized that low-income families allowed children to wear diapers for long periods of time to reduce costs. However, in leaving a dirty diaper on a child, a child will develop rashes and health problems, which also causes increased crying and increased family stress. Rina started rallying in the community for diapers to be donated to the Lighthouse and many businesses and local organizations got behind the effort. We received support from Soroptimist International, Kaiser Permanente and many others. Rina decided to seek greater support so she initiated a letter asking Huggies for a donation of diapers. Rina never realized that nonprofit organizations across the nation were making an appeal for diapers and Huggies came to the rescue. On average, diapers cost $18 a week or $936 a year. That figure can be higher or lower, depending on the child's age. For those struggling to make ends meet, this can be very costly, particularly when parents have more than one child in diapers at one time. The National Diaper Bank Network estimates about 5.7 million infants and toddlers nationwide live in families that may struggle to keep them in clean diapers. Lighthouse is passionate about preventing abuse and neglect of children. Wearing dirty diapers can become a neglect issue. If you are a parent struggling to make ends meet, you have a diaper bank in the neighborhood. If you are able to contribute diapers or donations toward our goal of having every little bottom clean and covered, then please go to our website at lighthousefrc.com or call our office at 645-3300. This effort is just one step toward strengthening families for a stronger community. Angela Ponivas, M.S.W., is the Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center’s executive director. Her phone is 645-3300; address is 427 A St., Suite 400; and Web site is lighthousefrc.com.