United Way of the Lakshore hosting baby product drive

By Rachel Watson - 

A United Way chapter on the lakeshore is asking the community to donate baby products or money to local expecting families in need this month.

United Way of the Lakeshore (UWL), which is based in Muskegon, is hosting a “Fill the Truck: Baby Product Drive” in Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties now through April 30.

“There are many new and expecting mothers in our community (who) are doing their best to make ends meet and are unsure of how they will afford their next diaper,” said Dominique Bunker, UWL community engagement director. “Mothers need much more than just diapers to keep their newborns and toddlers healthy. For example, wipes, ointments, baby bottles, formulas, clothes, teethers, and thermometers are all needed to keep a baby healthy and happy. The cost of these items (is) significant but necessary.”

Organizers are asking people to donate wipes, diapers of all sizes, baby bottles, formula, bibs, clothing in all sizes, pacifiers, toys, thermometers, blankets, baby hygiene products, teethers, hats, baby spoons, books, and more.

People can drop off their donations at the locations listed online. They also can text UWLBABY to 41444 to donate $10 or donate items from the Target registry entering “United Way” in the first name field and “Lakeshore” in the last name field to find the registry.

The drive will end with a baby shower May 8.

On average, infants require up to 12 diapers per day, according to UWL. This can cost between $70 and $80 per month, or $900 a year, and diapers are not included as a purchasable item with the Michigan Bridge Card. The costs for raising a child are high and because of the pandemic, mothers have many more stresses to consider. United Way specifically works to aid families that are only a paycheck away from poverty. Because of these donations, families can provide better care for their children and lessen the risk and stress related to low-income levels.

“Many families simply do not have the resources to provide clean diapers and products for basic care for their babies,” UWL said. “Not every family has access to washers and dryers to use cloth diapers. Since the pandemic, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, especially women and low-wage workers, according to the Washington Post. Families in our community are especially vulnerable right now. These mothers face difficult decisions trying to keep their children healthy while living near or at the poverty line. Being able to provide clean diapers, healthy formula, check their baby’s temperature — these donations bring pride and relief to caring mothers in Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo counties, especially during the pandemic.”