Pandemic or no pandemic, the need for diapers for children under age 4 and for sanitary pads for women and teen girls of reproductive age, goes unabated. Such needs are costly, particularly on a household that is low, or even worse during the Pandemic, no income. The Center for Refugee Services (CRS) tries to make some free products available each month to families, as long as their supplies hold out.
Every 4 weeks, CRS provides a package of 25 diapers, sizes newborn to 6, to families with children under the age of 4 who are still reliant on diapers. Monthly distributions can be as high as 300 packages a month. Many of CRS’ client families have multiple children under the age of 4 in diapers.
CRS gathers its supply from a variety of places. It has a longstanding partnership with the Texas Diaper Bank, from which it receives about 100 packages a month. Additionally, CRS has an ongoing relationship and multi-year support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bishops’ Storehouse. The Storehouse supplies CRS with all of the size 4 diapers needed for the full year. CRS picks up quarterly from the Storehouse to keep well stocked. Other faith-based organizations such as the National Council of Jewish Women, as well as clubs and individual donors respond to calls for products through Facebook or emails.
Sanitary pads are another costly products for families on a low, fixed income, particularly for families with multiple women/girls of reproductive age. CRS provides each of them with packages of 15 for each woman every 4 weeks. Products may be picked up together with diapers, or singly for those households without any children in diapers.
Recently CRS received a donation of 247 packages of sanitary pads (LDS) from young women and girls throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ East Stake. Marci McPhee, CRS volunteer and LDS Just Serve Specialist, San Antonio East Stake coordinated the sanitary pad drive. Besides the generosity of the needed items, much love was put in the labeling and decoration of each bag. Some bags had personal art, some listed the different sizing, and some had doilies with pink ribbons. All of which was to show the refugee women and girls that others in the community care about them and want to bring them some joy through individual attention to the packaging.
Finally, some of the young women, who had sewing skills, made 28 small colorful fabric bags with pull cords for teen girls needing a discrete way to carry their sanitary pads with them to school, particularly helpful for girls attending schools requiring clear backpacks.
CRS would like to thank all of those groups and individuals who have and continue to hear our call for diapers and sanitary pads for our clients. Through their largesse, we continue to be able to distribute items 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am – 2 pm during the pandemic.