Together with my team at the office, I have been working on getting a Cloth Diaper Bank off the ground for months now… it’s taken time to get everything off the ground and operational, but last week, we did our first official Share The Love™ diaper distribution to families here in St. Louis. Share The Love™ is an outreach of Cotton Babies and is based in St. Louis, Missouri. Share The Love™ is being coordinated by the Giving department at Cotton Babies and our St. Louis site is being run by a local woman who has generously donated most of her basement to store the donations that have been pouring in for St. Louis families in need.
When Share The Love™ was created, I knew that many other people would be interested in participating in a giving opportunity coordinated by Cotton Babies. With this in mind, we opened the program up to host sites in the United States. Within a very short period of time, we had dozens of sites interested and, while we are still hammering out the details, it certainly looks like we will be able to cover a significant portion of the United States with cloth diaper banks after all the locations are rolled out. Each host site will be run by a volunteer and responsible to collect diapers that it will then share with families in need in their local community. We knew that the need for cloth diapers among low income families is enormous. While Cotton Babies is big, we are also wise enough to know that we’re not big enough to meet that need on our own. This is why we’ve chosen to grow this concept through a distributed model that provides a consistent, scalable framework to utilize local resources to meet local needs.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve started seeing host agreements come back. One email stood out to me and I wanted to share it with those of you who have wondered if giving a family cloth diapers can make that much of a difference. It does… and here’s how (shared with permission):
That is interesting, isn’t it? I guess it’s proof that your program is on the right track! You “Shared the Love” with me, which made a profound impact on my life at the time. You have no idea how much those diapers and extras you sent meant to me! Your kindness changed my whole perspective on things. Now I’m in a much better place, financially as well. It’s been with some work, and a lot of luck, but I know that without someone that cared at the time, I would have just given up. Thank you for that.
Now, I’m ready to “Share the Love” and keep the cycle of giving (not just diapers, it’s so much more than that) going strong. When I realized just how much your gift of cloth diapers helped me, I knew that there’s nothing else I’d rather do, than to give that gift to as many others that need it as I possibly can. I just want to reiterate that it is so much more than a gift of [the use of] cloth diapers! It’s giving hope, knowing someone cares. The kindness of a stranger can fundamentally change someone, I believe.
I’ve been gifting diapers to moms in need for a while now, that I obtain cheaply or free for the cost of shipping that are in need of minor repairs, and I also sew them from scratch as time allows. I enjoy sewing wipes and mama cloth too, and I’m excited to be able to “Share the Love” with as many families in need as I possibly can!
Thank you again for everything, Kathleen. Feel free to share this email with any of the program directors, etc. that are interested in seeing the positive impact and outcome of this wonderful program.
I look forward to hearing from you and learning the next step!
I did get it. Yours is the first which is very interesting because as you mentioned in your earlier email you were the first Share the Love diaper recipient (though it didn’t have a name at the time).
As soon as I am given instructions I will get back to you with the next step. I’ll be in touch soon.
Corporate Giving Coordinator
Cotton Babies, Inc.
You should get the agreement signed by me in the mail tomorrow, if it’s not there already. I did not put an attention to you line on the envelope which I probably should have. I just wanted to let you know that it should have arrived by tomorrow and you may need to look for it as I didn’t address it directly to you.
I can’t wait to get started! I’ve been sorting through my own diaper stash and pulling out items that I’m not needing any more or that I’ve replaced with other diapers, and I’d love to pass them on to another family as well.
Thanks so much! I look forward to your reply!
It is significant to see the first person we helped become the first person to return her host agreement to be a Share The Love host site. It was incredibly meaningful for her to acknowledge that those diapers were instrumental in helping her successfully get back on her feet. This email warmed my heart and filled my eyes with tears because it feels like yesterday that we were *that* family. We are seeing fruit grow on trees that were planted over ten years ago when a women that I only knew as an online friend (and still haven’t ever met) generously sent me her stash of Chinese prefolds and diaper covers when my first son was four months old. Her gift helped my family. I can only hope that her gift will be multiplied more than any of us will ever be able to measure. I believe Share The Love™ will change lives everywhere.
Are you interested in becoming a host site? Please visit our informational page for information about how to apply (click on “Share The Love”).
Is your family choosing between diapers and food? Are you located in the St. Louis area? You are welcome to fill out an application to see if you qualify to borrow diapers from Share The Love™.
Can’t be a host site? Choosing to buy bumGenius, Flip, or Econobum cloth diapers goes a long way towards supporting this project. Thank you for your business and for your support over the years. It has been a fun journey.