Students agree, ‘time is now’ for diaper drive

Nicholas Solomon

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the nation leaving people jobless, working from home and confined, parenting has reached a whole new level of unique challenges.

The stay-at-home orders have made time management more challenging for parents since kids are unable to attend public school in person.

It costs a lot of money to raise a child and there is no disputing that fact. One of those costs is diapers. While varying based on brand, size, etc., they are extremely expensive for parents, and not having them leads parents to use alternatives such as reusing them for prolonged periods of time.

Realizing this problem, a couple of years ago, Associate Professor Sangyoub Park of Washburn University’s sociology/anthropology department decided to organize a diaper drive in collaboration with Topeka’s Community Action Partnership.

Taking in money donations and diapers starting in 2018, the drive raised $700 along with receiving 2,200 individual diapers.

In 2019, $440 and 1,700 diapers.

This time though things are different, with Park changing it to be HICEP based, making it a class-wide project for a sociology class he teaches, “Social Class in the U.S.” 

 “An HICEP project is a high impact community engagement project – I want to give students the opportunity to go beyond our textbook, by helping community members,” said Park.

Awareness of the diaper drive spread quickly, via social media, GoFundMe, Venmo, fliers and using a display board in the Memorial Union. Unfortunately, with campus closing due to COVID-19, plans have changed.

Students in Park’s “Social Class in the U.S.” course describe these drastic changes.

“We have to change our fliers and social media outreach information so it’s correct. We will still have the GoFundMe, and extend it to a later date,” said Allison Sadler, a senior communications major. “I’m hoping that putting the message out there, we can still receive some benefits to getting diapers and helping people in need.”

The diaper drive is needed now more than ever.

“COVID-19 is affecting everyone,” said Macy Howell, a senior psychology major. “These people are going to be struggling financially. There are extra expenses [with the stay-at-home order and] it’s going to be hard moving forward for these families.”

Students agree that the time is now.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 has given us even more of a reason to do this drive,” said Senior Integrated Studies major Emma Staats. “With people becoming unemployed the need will be compounded over the next several weeks. Since essentials are being stripped from grocery stores at an alarming rate, people who cannot afford to buy in bulk or don’t have access to online resources will need these diapers now more than ever.”

The GoFundMe will be active and a Venmo account is also being made available for donations.

Everyone is encouraged to donate, as well as spread the word to help this cause.

Edited by Wesley Tabor, Abbie Barth, Diana Martinez-Ponce