by Kathy Marson
TRI-CITIES, Wash., August 10, 2011 - When Jesus told the story about why his people inherit the kingdom, (Matthew 25) you don’t hear reasons such as: they had great preaching ability; they were excellent runners; or they had tremendous healing skills. Jesus said, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me water, I was a stranger and you took me in, I needed diapers and you started a diaper bank …
One day a stranger who needed diapers walked into the Pasco Riverview Church food bank, one of the largest in the area. The volunteers realized there was a huge need for diapers in their community. So Tri-Cities Junior Academy held a diaper drive at the school and collected more than 12,000 diapers.
This is how the Tri-Cities Diaper Bank started. Because diapers are the most important item of clothing for children and yet many areas have no agency that provides them. The Tri-Cities Diaper Bank, now has an office and storage space in a donated modular building behind the Riverview Adventist Church in Pasco with a second distribution center at the Richland Adventist Church.
Their first annual diaper drive, called Stuff the Bus, was held in July with a bus parked at each of the two Wal-Mart stores in Richland and Pasco. Ben Franklin Transit provided a red bus at one and the local Pathfinder bus parked at the other. Over 25 volunteers collected 18,000 diapers during the two-day event. And $1,300 in cash came in which will purchase another 6,800 diapers. “We get kind of teary eyed when people bring us packs of diapers,” said Adra Johnson, director of Tri-Cities Diaper Bank, “It's a real sacrifice for some of them.”
Renee’ Martin, Richland Church secretary and assistant program director for the Diaper Bank adds that Positive Life Radio featured the diaper drive; and KNDU and KEPR ran pieces during the event. “We encountered so much goodwill and from the community during this event,” said Martin. “The response was overwhelmingly positive.”
“We provide after school math tutoring at the Jason Lee Public School across the street from the Richland Church, and we hold a reading program at our church for their students,” said Martin. “Because of this close partnership, the public school plans to hold a diaper drive when school starts.”
The diaper bank currently serves 400 kids and there is growing community awareness. The group serves the Benton-Franklin Health Department, the Children's Developmental Center, Catholic Family and Child Services, Benton-Franklin Community Action Committee and Safe Harbor Crisis Nursery.
Jesus ends his story by saying, “I tell you the truth, when you did it [gave diapers] to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it [giving them] to me!” Matthew 25:40.
Program Director Adra Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Tri-Cities Diaper Bank main offices
Pasco: Road 36, Pasco, WA
Richland: 1807 McMurray Ave., Richland, WA
Phone (509) 946-8807