At Felicity, we’re fortunate to have a team that exudes passion and enthusiasm in a number of different ways and for a wide range of different reasons. In honour of Giving Tuesday, we’re joining the movement to give, instead of just “gift”, this holiday season by highlighting Felicity’s Dale McIntosh and The Diaper Bank, a fantastic initiative she founded with partner Savannah Lockie.
In 2008, I had my first child and during the wee hours of the night I would often listen to the radio. One early morning I heard an interview that left me heartbroken; the thought of those living in poverty having to keep their babies in diapers for extended periods of time because they could not afford diapers. That holiday season and the one thereafter I asked around to other moms to give me any diapers that they no longer were using as their babies grew out of them and I delivered them to a local community agency.
With diapers costing approximately $100.00 a month it doesn’t take long to realize the need and how, when faced with feeding, clothing and sheltering your children the choice to re-use or keep your children in the same diaper seems like your only choice. The facts are compelling and the story is very easy to visualize. There are two studies – one conducted by Huggies for the Every Little Bottom Program and the other developed through the American Academy of Pediatrics – that have provided further support for our cause.
Meanwhile, Savannah Lockie, who worked for the United Way of Toronto, kept hearing worrying accounts from the executive directors of agencies who worked in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods. She was told families, particularly mothers, were in desperate need of baby items including diapers and the shortage was keeping them from accessing other services. Savannah received my email asking for diapers and at that point we connected and The Diaper Bank was born; this past summer we received charitable status from Revenue Canada.
Support for The Diaper Bank was immediate – partner agencies signed up, donors dropped off diapers on our volunteers’ porches, cash donations began trickling in and media interest was evident. Reaching out to targeted media contacts such as websites for moms, writers or reporters that have babies and community groups with this story worked; Metro Morning, CTV News Community spot, City News, Yummy Mummy Club, SavvyMom, and most recently an article in The Toronto Star have shared the Diaper Bank with their followers. We have also had the good fortune of partnering with The BabyTime Show (a consumer trade show for all things baby) and finding opportunities to speak to wider audiences such as The Toronto Women’s Garden Club and the Toronto Rotary Club; essentially networking with any contacts that we think would make a connection.
I have always been philanthropic, my parents were terrific examples and giving of my time is part of who I am, a volunteer. Like our parents demonstrated to us; both Savannah’s kids and mine are excited when we arrive home to a front step filled with diapers. Right now they think they are fun to play on and build forts with but ultimately if you ask them what they are for; they will answer, “for babies that need diapers”. From the bottom of our hearts we hope to fill a critical and otherwise unmet need for diapers among the most vulnerable in our community and demonstrate the importance of giving back to our own children.