By Stephanie Malench, Reporter
Soup-n-Share Outreach Program in Madison is preparing to launch its new “No Child Wet Behind” Diaper Bank for the 4200 families in Madison County who receive WIC benefits through the state of Illinois. Soup-n-Share began in the basement of a church in 2009 by Edwardsville resident and small business owner Sherrie Hare and now has an entire warehouse building behind Bernard Long Elementary School at 5 Caine St.
According to Executive Director Hare, they have collected 150,000 diapers since launching their collection drive the week of September 23-28. On the last day of the week, 20,000 diapers were brought in through partnerships with State Representative Katie Stewart, State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe, State Representative Monica Bristow, and Buffalo Soldiers. Although the program will be collecting diapers year round, Hare wants to have 315,000 on hand at the launch to ensure they can get through the first 3 months.
To be eligible for the program, women must prove they are enrolled in the WIC program and list all of their children and their ages. The program will only provide diapers for infants and babies up to 3 years of age. Because this is a supplemental program, only 15 diapers will be provided each month for each child. Distribution will be held from 10:00 am- 4:00 pm on the 15th of each month beginning in January.
The No Child Wet Behind Program fills a critical need for families in Madison County because diapers are not covered by WIC or Food SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits. Having diapers is a requirement for an infant or toddler’s enrollment in day cares or Early Head Start. Without the assistance of these child care programs, parents cannot work, disqualifying them from obtaining child care resources.
When families come in to the diaper bank, they will be provided with a resource list of other support services closer to home. Other services are available on site for residents of Granite City, Madison, Venice, and Brooklyn include a hot meal on Fridays provided by Ravenelli’s in Granite City, a food pantry on Wednesdays and Fridays, Toys for Tots, cell phones for soldiers, senior boxes, a free clothing store, and an adopt a family program.
In addition to helping local residents, Soup-n-Share also supports Holocaust victims in Israel and the Bnai Zion Hospital in Haifa Israel.
Diaper donations can be made on site during their open hours, Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. or at one of their drop off points throughout Madison County: Big Frog Custom T-Shirts and More in Edwardsville, Illinois Representative Katie Stewart’s office in Collinsville, and Niedringhouse UMC in Granite City.
Cash donations can be made through the website, www.soupnshare.org.