Diaper brigade needs help to serve those in need

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 9, 2015

 Mary Moore, of Troy, one of the founding members of the Baby Basic of Troy Ministry, prepares the diapers for families to receive at the church Dec. 2.

Mary Moore, of Troy, one of the founding members of the Baby Basic of Troy Ministry, prepares the diapers for families to receive at the church Dec. 2.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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One client who received diapers from Baby Basics — which operates at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Troy, distributing diapers twice a month to those in need — used a towel as a makeshift diaper for her infant during one visit because she had run out diapers.

Rev. Charlotte Sommers, pastor of Northminster, said it costs about $700 each year per baby for diapers.

Since 2007, Baby Basics — comprising volunteers from Northminster, Central Woodward Christian Church and the Troy Women’s Association — has provided and distributed diapers on the first and third Wednesdays of each month.

Troy resident Mary Moore spearheaded Baby Basics after she heard an interview on National Public Radio about a group that provided free diapers to the “working poor” in New Jersey. Moore got in touch with the New Jersey woman who started the program, Jean Ann Lynch, who put her in touch with Sommers, who had just taken an assignment at Northminster in Troy and had helped Lynch to start the program in New Jersey.

Moore serves on the board of Baby Basics.

“Mary was really the one who initiated that,” Sommers said.

“It seems like a small thing,” Sommers said of distributing diapers. “We have a very specific clientele. It’s a safe place to come and talk to volunteers and be affirmed that they are doing OK. These people are trying to make it.”

Currently, Baby Basics serves 14 families of all faiths and nationalities who live in Sterling Heights, Clawson and Troy. Families must meet financial guidelines and cannot be receiving any federal or state assistance. One member of the household must be employed. Baby Basics supplies diapers for children up to age 3. The group raises money through grants, monetary contributions and donations of diapers, wipes and other supplies.

The Troy Women’s Association contributed $1,000 from its Elf Shelf craft show at Troy High School Nov. 28.

Troy resident Jennifer Kondak also serves on the board of Baby Basics. She said she was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, and although her husband had a good job, she had to budget carefully to meet her children’s needs.

“I know how hard these people work,” she said.

Kondak explained that cloth diapers are not an option for the Baby Basic clients because many of them do not have access to laundry facilities, laundromats will not accept cloth diapers and low-cost day care facilities will not accept children using cloth diapers.

Troy resident Kristin Prell stopped in to pick up diapers for her daughter Emma, who will be 3 in February. She said her sister-in-law saw something about Baby Basics in a local newspaper.

Prell, 38, suffers with rheumatoid arthritis. Her fiance, Craig, works as an automotive technician. She’s been a Baby Basics client for two years.

“We got right in,” she said.

Baby Basics currently has nine families on its waiting list.

Rewa Haider, of Sterling Heights, picked up diapers for her son Hadi, 2, with her daughters Sedra, 6, and Sani, 4, in tow. She and her husband immigrated to the U.S. from Syria nine years ago. Her husband works in the meat department of a grocery store. She said she went online trying to find help for her family.

“This (Baby Basics) was the only one that called back,” she said.

Baby Basics of Troy is run by volunteers, receives no government funding and is part of the National Diaper Bank Network.

Those who wish to be considered to be clients of Baby Basics or who would like to donate diapers should call Northminster Presbyterian Church at (248) 644-5920. One-hundred percent of all contributions go toward the purchase of diapers unless the donor specifies the funds may be used to cover administrative costs. Those who wish to donate money can do so online at squareup.com/store/npc-bbtm or they can mail checks to Baby Basics of Troy, Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3633 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48084.

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