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October 23, 2013

The Funky Frog on a roll with diaper drive, still accepting donations

By Robin Ruehlen
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — As any weary new parent could testify, babies can easily make their way through more than a dozen diapers a day — and when the stack runs out, a trip to the store is immediately necessary. 

For those who cannot afford the cost of up to $40 per box, running out of diapers is not merely an inconvenience: it is a crisis.

Because of this, the Funky Frog Children’s Resale Boutique in Rochester has been busy collecting nearly 3,200 diapers for the Detroit Area Diaper Bank’s fifth annual Fall Diaper Drive, which began in August and runs through Thanksgiving. The Funky Frog is one of two drop-off locations in Oakland County and is accepting donations through Nov. 16.

Owner Renee Perkins said she decided to join the drive three years ago, when her customers started inquiring as to what they could do with boxes and packs of unused diapers that had been outgrown or were no longer needed.

“I came in contact with the Diaper Bank, and it was the perfect fit,” she said.

“Every year, it’s gotten bigger. Last year, we set our goal at 1,600, so this year, we decided to make it 2,500, and we’ve already surpassed that in less than one month. We have people bringing us hundreds of diapers at a time, and it’s amazing how fast the number has gone up this year.”

The annual Fall Diaper Drive aims to collect at least 250,000 diapers or the funds to purchase them in order to meet the need of the Diaper Bank’s partner agencies throughout the winter holidays and the start of the New Year, when donations tend to be slow.

Founder and Director Marybeth Levine said in a release that in addition to bringing in the 250,000 diapers, she wants the drive to raise awareness of the diaper issue and engage the community.

“We are always in need of individuals, businesses, schools, community organizations and places of worship to run diaper drives and fundraiser to support the Diaper Bank, whether it’s before Thanksgiving or not,” she said.

“The diapers go out just as quickly as they come in, so we are looking for year-round partnerships and support to help us really make a difference with diapers.”

No federal assistance programs pay for or provide diapers, including Women, Infants & Children, or WIC, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Medicare, so the task of providing diapers to low-income families  falls to nonprofit organizations and other state agencies, which in turn are supplied by the Diaper Bank. Since April 2009, the Diaper Bank has distributed approximately 1.7 million diapers, pull-ups and incontinence supplies to its partner agencies.

According to Levine, babies in low-income households may be forced to wear a single diaper all day, or longer, increasing the risk of not only health issues, but abuse. The Diaper Bank also provides supplies for children with disabilities who never outgrow the need for diapers, and for seniors who can’t afford incontinence supplies.

Perkins said any diaper products are welcome, including open and unused packs of regular diapers, pull-ups, swim diapers, adult diapers and wipes.

“People have been going to Amazon.com or Target and sending us shipments, and those extreme couponers, if they see an opportunity, they’ll frequently think of us and use their skills in enhancing our numbers,” she said.

“As long as the diapers can still be put to use, we’ll take them.”

The Funky Frog Children’s Resale Boutique is located at 433 S. Main St. in Rochester. For more information, call (248) 656-1937.

To donate directly to the Detroit Area Diaper Bank, visit www.detroitareadiaperbank.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robin Ruehlen at rruehlen@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1105.