Hundreds of packages of wipes, diapers, formula and other infant essentials are being sorted and boxed as Heart of Florida United Way wraps up its annual Basics for Babies supply drive. This community-wide effort benefits at-risk mothers struggling to provide basic care items for their infants. The drive, which launches in October, calls upon local businesses, churches and social groups, to set up drop-off locations for a fairly short list of items. Requested items include diapers, wipes, formula, new infant clothes, blankets and baby books.
The drive ends in early December, at which point dozens of McGladrey volunteers come together at United Way to sort through the 11,748 diapers, 32,308 wipes and 1,253 other assorted items collected. The items from this year’s drive, which ended today, were assembled into care packages and then distributed to the partner agencies that work most closely with at-risk mothers:
• Beta Center
• Harbor House of Central Florida
• SafeHouse of Seminole
• Salvation Army of Orlando
• Help Now of Osceola, Inc.
• Heart of Florida United Way Emergency Homelessness Services.
The cost of diapers alone is a hardship for lower income mothers. At least one study estimates that a single working mother earning minimum wage would spend more than 6% of her gross income on diapers alone. Basics for Babies helps to provide much needed relief for these families, and it helps keep babies healthier as it prevents mothers from being forced into re-using diapers. The estimated fair market value for everything collected during the 2014 drive is $13,853.92.