FREEHOLD – The COVID-19 pandemic has led many families to experience not only health problems but financial struggles. With baby and children’s products being costly for expectant and parenting mothers, the Monmouth ACTS’ Early Childhood Success Hub stated how many mothers were having trouble finding diapers, wipes and other supplies for newborns and young children as a result of financial difficulties due to COVID-19.
“It was such a specific need, it really struck me,” Monmouth County Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley said. “The need was compounded not just by the lack of supplies, but because diapers and wipes can be so expensive, especially for a young mother who is struggling to pay the bills.”
Kiley’s idea was to have the Early Childhood Success Hub partner with the RAINE (Reaching All in Need Everyday) Foundation, an organization established to support those in need in the Bayshore area and run by Kiley’s family.
“It was a gap that could be fixed so simply,” Kiley said. “I thought, ‘Why can’t we do a diaper drive?’ The RAINE Foundation has a network of 500 volunteers. If I put it to them, they’ll all muster and support this.”
A county-wide diaper drive was created and RAINE worked quickly to collect not only diapers but wipes and other needed supplies. RAINE received an abundance of help from other organizations including the Hazlet Police Department, who volunteered to become a 24/7 drop-off site for donations. Grace United Methodist Church in Union Beach, who already was working with RAINE, also collaborated to collect materials.
The drive resulted in the RAINE Foundation delivering supplies to four Early Childhood Success Hub organizations that serve families across Monmouth County. These organizations included:
- Acelero Learning Freehold Center: Distributed around 950 diapers and 25 packs of wipes to 25 families, including two expectant mothers.
- Oceans Family Success Center in Asbury Park: Distributed around 1,250 diapers (including pull-ups) and 29 packs of wipes to 11 families.
- VNA Health Group: Served at least 20 families across its network with around 840 diapers and 10 packs of wipes.
- Bayshore Family Success Center in Middletown: Distributed 12 cases of diapers, 3 cases of wipes and a box of baby formula at its Baby Pantry.
“We were so happy to see the RAINE Foundation and Grace United Methodist Church step up so quickly to meet this critical need for our families in Monmouth County,” says Colleen Nelson, RN, MSN, Vice President Children & Family Health Institute, VNACJ and Co-Chair, Monmouth ACTS Early Childhood Success Hub. “The partner organizations receiving the diapers represented different geographic areas within the county to ensure delivery across a wide span of families. It is important during this pandemic to think of others and what you can do to help your neighbors, families and friends. A huge thank you to Commissioner Kiley, our volunteers and staff of the Early Childhood Success Hub organizations for carrying out this successful Diaper Drive.”
“Monmouth ACTS continues to be the great connector for our County’s human services organizations,” said Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone. “This is another fantastic example of resources and organizations in the County that are now getting to know each other and communicate at Hub meetings, resulting in better services for Monmouth County residents.”