The ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been varied and far-reaching – and distress is not always related to health concerns. Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley recently learned of an unforeseen need among the county’s expectant and parenting mothers.
On a call for Monmouth ACTS’ Early Childhood Success Hub, Kiley was surprised to learn from leaders of various service organizations that mothers across Monmouth County, particularly expectant young mothers struggling financially due to COVID-19, were having trouble finding diapers, wipes and other supplies for newborns and young children, according to a press release.
“It was such a specific need, it really struck me,” Kiley said. “The need was compounded not just by the lack of supplies, but because diapers and wipes can be so expensive, especially for a young mother who is struggling to pay the bills.”
Fortunately, Kiley had a simple solution in mind – the Early Childhood Success Hub could partner with the RAINE (Reaching All in Need Everyday) Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization established to support those in need in the county’s Bayshore area and run by Kiley’s family, according to the press release.
“It was a gap that could be fixed so simply,” Kiley said. “I thought, ‘Why can’t we do a diaper drive?’ The RAINE Foundation has a network of 500 volunteers. If I put it to them, they will all muster and support this.”
RAINE’s leadership and volunteers accepted the challenge and began organizing a county-wide drive for diapers, wipes and other needed supplies, according to the press release.
The Hazlet Police Department volunteered to become a 24/7 drop-off site for donations and members of the Early Childhood Success Hub and the RAINE Foundation began to spread the request for donations on social media.
Grace United Methodist Church in Union Beach, which was already working with RAINE to collect pajamas for an annual drive, saw the request for diapers and pledged to begin collecting and donating those materials, too, according to the press release.
At the end of the drive, the RAINE Foundation was able to deliver supplies to four Early Childhood Success Hub organizations that serve families across Monmouth County:
• Acelero Learning Freehold Center distributed 950 diapers and 25 packs of wipes to 25 families, including two expectant mothers;
• Oceans Family Success Center in Asbury Park distributed 1,250 diapers (including pull-ups) and 29 packs of wipes to 11 families;
• VNA Health Group served at least 20 families across its network with 840 diapers and 10 packs of wipes;
• Bayshore Family Success Center in Middletown distributed 12 cases of diapers, three cases of wipes and a box of baby formula at its Baby Pantry.
For more information about the RAINE Foundation, visit www.rainefoundation.com
For more information about Monmouth ACTS, visit www.MonmouthACTS.org