A quarter of a million diapers sounds like a lot, but it's not nearly enough to meet the needs of underprivileged families in Fairfield County. That's how many diapers the Junior League of Stamford/Norwalk's Diaper Co-Op has given away in the past two years in area towns.
"But the need is so much bigger than that," says league President Angelica Oxford, who is bilingual and does translations for many of the clients. She says the number of free diapers distributed has grown steadily to 10,000 a month.
"I don't know what I'd do without this program," says Maria Palencia, a Diaper Co-Op client from Stamford.
Clients are directed to the Diaper Co-Op at the Junior League offices on the Post Road in Darien from such social service agencies as Person-to-Person in Darien. Palencia, who has a 1-year old, waited five months to make the Co-Op's list. Like most clients, Palencia has no washer/dryer, no child-care help and relies on friends or the bus to pick up her biweekly supply.
The 400 members of the Junior League come from Norwalk, Stamford, Wilton, Weston, Westport, Darien, New Canaan and Ridgefield and volunteer with charities in Fairfield County. The Diaper Co-Op is modeled on a much larger Diaper Bank in New Haven .
"We pay for the diapers from corporate and personal donations, Diaper Banks that we hold in various towns and the United Way," Oxford says.
Another client, Idalia Garcia of Stamford who has a 15-month-old daughter, has been a Co-Op participant for almost a year but must bow out of the program soon. "I'm so sad that the time is almost up because I have so many needs," she said.
Because of the long waiting list for diapers, the social service agencies cap participation at a year. Oxford cried when Garcia left with her last two-week supply of diapers.
To make a donation, visit the league's website .
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