Prairieland United Way Diaper Drive to Kick Off on Friday

By Benjamin Cox on November 7, 2023 at 12:26pm

Prairieland United Way is kicking off a very special drive on Friday to help the youngest in the community.

Area businesses are partnering with the United Way to collect items for families and their newborn babies during this holiday season for a Holiday Diaper Drive beginning on Friday and running until December 10th.

Prairieland United Way Executive Director Karen Walker says everyone is usually thinking about toys and gifts for the holiday season, but there is still an intense need for everyday essentials for low income families: “We had been contacted starting with Early Years. We have worked with them in the past and also some of our other agencies whenever there is a need, which is a great thing. We are one of the first places we hope our agencies look to for support and help in getting the word out, working with area businesses in the community to provide the resources that they need. We are seeing a shortage in diapers for families who are in need, who are trying to make ends meet. So, Early Years reached out to us to ask to see if there was something we could do to help the families they serve.”

Walker says Early Years Principal Sarah English had told her that their Home Visiting teams saw a huge need for diapers during the pandemic. English says that in the 2023-2024 school year alone, the 0-3 Home Visiting Teams have distributed nearly 4,500 diapers and pull-ups to families in the community.

Walker says that Prairieland United Way has partnered with area banks to be drop-off locations for the drive including: The Farmers State Bank and Trust Company at 200 W. State St. and 1718 W. Morton; First National Bank of Arenzville at 1904 S. Main St. and 1839 W. Morton; CNB Bank & Trust at 1211 W. Morton and 903 S. Main; and Petefish Skiles & Co. Bank at 1342 S. Main. Walker says the area is fortunate to have local banks willing to help: “I feel like it’s a very visible location for all of them. They have multiple locations and they are very supportive of the work that we do in many ways. They also have a good space of hours that they are open. People can just drop in and drop off the diapers, and wipes as well. We will have boxes set up at these locations much like any other drive that you see in the community – food drives, toy drives, etc. Any size of diapers is appreciated. We will take whatever you can give.”

Walker says that the diapers will then be distributed to area low-income families through Early Years and other case-managed organizations in daycares that are supported by the Prairieland United Way: “12% of households in the Prairieland United Way service area live below the state poverty level, and many families are needing help to make ends meet.” Walker says the definition of financial hardship has changed over time in Morgan County. As circumstances change, households may find themselves below or above the ALICE Threshold at different times. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – households that earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county. Walker says that many families struggle, especially as wages fail to keep pace with the rising cost of household essentials

For more information about United Way and how to donate, please contact Executive Director Karen Walker at 217-245-4557 or stop by the office located at the Jacksonville Municipal Building at 200 West Douglas Avenue.