Diaper Bank Aims to Wrap Bottoms Around Mecklenburg County
“One in three families at some point in time will struggle to afford diapers,” stated Avery Payne, branch director for the Diaper Bank NC.
The Diaper Bank of NC was founded by Michelle Old in Durham, N.C. In January 2013, Old, a new foster mom at the time, noticed that her son would have severe pain from diaper rashes and would have to seek treatment from doctors in a facility. She would have to change his diaper 20 to 30 times a day. While her baby boy was healing from treatment, she wondered about parents who were not able to provide clean diapers for their babies. Every night, Old would wrap diapers on her dining room table with the dream of providing 50,000 diapers to those in need. To date, the Diaper Bank NC has distributed over 13 million diapers state-wide with branches in the Triangle, the Greater Triad, and Lower Cape Fear Region.
The Diaper Bank of NC not only distributes diapers, but hygiene products, period products, and adult incontinence products to low-income families in the community. DBNC has made a huge impact in its three branches and now, it's ready to make an even bigger staple in the Charlotte community. The newcomer has partnered with several non profit organizations to advance the mission to the Charlotte community. In 2019, the Diaper Bank partnered with Smart Start of Mecklenburg County and the Archer Foundation to acquire warehouse space. Nearly two years later, the organization is happy to open its doors to volunteers and more community partnerships.
Avery Payne, Branch Director at Diaper Bank of NC - Greater Charlotte, began his career with the non-profit in May 2022 and they are on a mission to eradicate diaper needs in North Carolina. “We want to make a difference by ensuring that these products are available to those who need them most,” he said. “Until that happens, we will be passionate about serving the community through our distributions as well as advocating on behalf of those families for legislation that benefits families that are struggling with this basic necessity,” he continued.
Diaper Bank of NC has partnered with three Mecklenburg County non profit organizations to assist with their distribution needs. They are Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, Loaves and Fishes/Friendship Trays and Compassion Closet. “We don’t distribute diapers directly to families in need. We distribute our products through community partner organizations,” said Payne. “We do that because we not only want to give families our products, but also direct them towards information, resources and other family services that they can use,” he said.
When asked about the greatest need, Payne stated clearly that he needed people power (volunteers).
Volunteers to help repackage and wrap their different products with the Diaper Bank NC branding.
Volunteers to count orders from our community partners. Go around the warehouse and get the wrapped product for each order and prepare for distribution.
Payne is extremely excited about the support from the community. He recently changed the office hours, such that students from a local college, a team at one of our corporations or church congregations could come in and lend a helping hand.
Their current office hours are:
Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 6:30 pm. Volunteers can also come and wrap products from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Two volunteer sessions are held during the day 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Growth is important to the organization, they hope to continue to grow in inventory, grow with community partners and grow through its volunteer program. In order to be successful in the Charlotte area, the organization aims to reach 350 to 400 volunteers a month.
In 2023, the organization will be celebrating ten years. Since its founding, the Diaper Bank of NC has distributed more than 18 million diapers across the state. The organization is need of donation drives. If you are interested, please contact Avery at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about their volunteer needs on Diaper Bank's SHARE Charlotte profile: https://sharecharlotte.org/nonprofit/diaper-bank-north-carolina