The building industry-based charity provides baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, and formula for homeless mothers and families.
As we celebrated Mother’s Day this past weekend, many chapters of HomeAid America were conducting their annual “Essentials for Young Lives” campaigns, providing needed baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, and formula for charities helping homeless mothers and families across the country.
One in three families in America experience diaper need, a condition that exists in unemployed as well as working low-income families who cannot afford enough diapers to keep their babies clean, dry, and healthy. This is a major issue because:
- Infants use 240 diapers per month, costing on average $90/month
- Low-income families actually pay more for diapers as they purchase them more frequently and in smaller quantities due to the inability to buy in bulk
- Diapers are not covered by any government assistance programs
- When diaper use is stretched, diaper rashes, sores, and serious infections can occur exposing babies to risk of health complications
- The leading cause of mental health problems reported among new mothers is needing diapers and not being able to buy them.
HomeAid, a building industry-based charity with chapters in 17 markets across the country, is primarily focused on building housing for service providers helping those experiencing homelessness, and has built more than 440 multi-unit housing projects in its nearly 27-year history, helping to house 240,000 previously homeless Americans. In the United States, more than 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year, of whom 80 percent are women, children, and families who experience events such as job loss, domestic violence, or medical conditions. Others include veterans returning from war and youth aging out of the foster care system.
HomeAid conducts community outreach activities and programs for these same charities helping the homeless, and Essentials for Young Lives is one of its most prominent and long-standing. It began at HomeAid Atlanta 15 years ago, and going into this year, more than 750,000 essential baby items have been collected and distributed in the Atlanta area, most of them through HomeAid Atlanta’s local partner UPS. The items collected go directly to organizations that provide housing and supportive services to homeless infants, toddlers, and families. Many of these organizations operate facilities that have been built or renovated in partnership with HomeAid Atlanta.
At HomeAid Orange County, the Essentials Drive has taken on monumental proportions, with more than one million diapers collected each of the past two years. This year’s drive was highlighted by the second annual “Builders for Babies” event where builders that have been collecting baby supplies through HomeAid actually build houses made of diaper packages and hold a media event to highlight this issue. This year’s event was held in partnership with the Anaheim Angels in the parking lot of their stadium on April 29 and “diaper homes” were built by HomeAid partners Lennar Homes, CalAtlantic Homes, Brookfield Residential, New Home Company, Toll Brothers, and William Lyon Homes.
Other HomeAid chapters conducting major Essentials Drives this year include HomeAid Colorado, HomeAid Northern California, and HomeAid San Diego, all of whom have in just the past few years ramped up their campaigns to involve dozens of companies collecting baby items and hundreds of volunteers delivering them to the charities helping the homeless. The Essentials Drive has become part of HomeAid’s core mission to build new lives for those experiencing homelessness through housing and community outreach, and will continue its growth and the number of those served in the years to come.