Women’s Fund and Central Indiana Community Foundation Staff Joined Together to Help Indiana Diaper Bank
National volunteer month began in 1974 to encourage more people to volunteer within their communities and to honor those who volunteer regularly. Many small not-for-profits depend heavily on volunteers giving their time. Volunteering is an easy way to bring some joy to your life. It allows you to help your community and make relationships. Also, volunteering just makes you feel good.
You Can Join in the Fun: 4 Ways to Celebrate National Volunteer Month
1. Support a local not-for-profit that accepts volunteers.
When considering ways to celebrate National Volunteer Month, volunteering with a local not-for-profit seems like the easiest answer, but sometimes finding a place to volunteer can be tricky. Our recommendation: Start with the organizations that mean the most to you. Research potential opportunities, and then use a volunteer matching website like the one available on IndyHub.
Ten organizations to consider:
2. Donate your time to your neighborhood.
If you are unsure about committing to an organization, start volunteering—even informally—in your own neighborhood. Many times, without proper maintenance, neighborhoods and streets can fall into disrepair. That is where you can help join forces with organizations like Keep Indianapolis Beautiful for organized projects, find groups on Facebook or apps like Nextdoor or grab a trash bag, put in your headphones and start picking up on your street.
3. Help out a friend or neighbor.
Sometimes we have set ideas of what volunteering looks like, but it can be as simple as helping a friend move or mowing your elderly neighbor’s lawn. Volunteering is valuable when it changes the world, but also when it just changes your little corner of the world. Start by helping those close to you.
4. Too busy to volunteer? Make a donation!
Volunteering may not be in the cards if you are short on free time, but don’t let that stop you from making a difference. While volunteering is amazing, monetary donations help organizations continue to do their work. If you can’t find time, donate instead. Donations are just as important as all the other ways to celebrate national volunteer month.
Here’s How Women’s Fund Celebrated National Volunteer Month
The Need for Diapers is Great
In preparation for National Volunteer Month, Women’s Fund and CICF staff came together to volunteer with the Indiana Diaper Bank. The Indiana Diaper Bank distributes diapers to partners in Central and Eastern Indiana. Learn more about the Indiana Diaper Bank here. Each of these partners distributes diapers to families who are in need. How great is the need for diapers, exactly? According to Annie E. Casey Foundation, in 2020,14.9% of children under 18 lived in poverty. Because Indiana’s poverty rate is higher than the national average, children are at a greater risk for lack of diapers and the consequences that come along with it.
One in three families in Indiana struggles to afford enough diapers, especially with rising costs. According to the Baby Center, it is estimated that newborn babies need up to 12 diapers a day, and toddlers need up to 8 diapers. With this daily number, babies and toddlers need anywhere from 2,500-4,000 diapers every year. With an average cost of .29 cents per diaper, families spend $80-100 per month per child on diapers. Indiana Diaper Bank reports that 57% of parents miss work because they don’t have enough diapers to send to daycare. With numbers like these, it is easy to see why the need for diapers in Indiana is so great.
The Indiana Diaper Bank and its frontline partners provide immediate relief for families in need. They even partner with organizations like food banks so that families can get all their essentials in one trip, and Eskenazi Health, which screens patients for potential diaper needs.
Our Volunteer Experience
Philanthropy involves giving time, talent and treasure. In March, our group gathered to help make a difference, not just through funding (Indiana Diaper Bank received a 2022 Women’s Fund grant) but by getting out into the community. Many of the facts above were shared with us by Ashley Burns, CEO and president of the Indiana Diaper Bank, along with her volunteer and community manager, Dani Wilson. Learning about the need and impact of volunteers made our work feel meaningful.
Armed with one common goal, we packed orders and packaged diapers thoughtfully, knowing that each family deserves to receive diapers as carefully packaged as if they grabbed them from the shelves at the grocery store. We were given slips to write the partner organization’s name and include our name, as well. Ashley explained that families who receive diapers like to know who packages them because it makes it feel more personal. We worked as teams to gather all the orders for the week and then spent time socializing while we packaged diapers for distribution later.
How You Can Help
At the end of our two-hour “shift,” the shelves of the diaper bank warehouse still held diapers and wipes, waiting to be distributed to families. Ashley shared that, though they appeared well-stocked, the shelves were actually much emptier than normal, because requests for diaper assistance are increasing.
Ashley and her small team work to pack as many diapers as possible, but they heavily rely on volunteers to help. In total, we packaged around 2,700 diapers, just a tiny fraction of the diapers needed. Learn more about how you can volunteer with the Indiana Diaper Bank.
Support Women’s Fund
Without volunteers like you, Indiana not-for-profits will continue to lack support for women and girls. You have the ability to make a difference with your time and funding. At Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, we are dedicated to mobilizing people, ideas and investments, so every woman and girl in our community has an equitable opportunity to reach her full potential – no matter her place, race or identity. You can make an impact with your support; we invest in organizations that help women in our focus areas, caregiving, intimate violence, economic empowerment and girls’ programs. Learn more about Women’s Fund.