A Bowie group supporting stay-at-home moms traded changing diapers for changing lives as they collected money and diaper donations to support needy families in the city.
The Bowie-North Chapter of Moms Offering Moms Support Club, or MOMS, held a sold-out puppet show of Kidsinger Jim and his barnyard puppets in front of about 125 people on April 17 at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts.
The show cost $5 per child or a 40-plus pack of diapers, both of which were donated to the Bowie Interfaith Food Pantry, said Nicole Bartels, Bowie-North MOMS club president.
MOMS club members said they hoped the event would raise awareness on the diaper needs of low-income families.
“Women who are on food stamps don’t get diapers as a part of that, and I thought that was a travesty,” said donor Bianca Adkins of Bowie.
The club is an international group with local chapters that holds events and meetings to support stay-at-home mothers, Bartels said. The pantry is a local charity that gives out food and goods to needy families on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Bartels said the pantry doesn’t often keep diapers because it doesn’t receive a lot of donations.
“I think just, generally, diapers is an issue that goes unspoken among a lot of people,” Bartels said. “Particularly in Bowie, we don’t have a diaper bank like other communities do, like Hagerstown or Annapolis.”
That lack of a diaper bank — a location that specifically collects and distributes diapers for the needy — motivated the MOMS Club to hold the event, Bartels said.
The club collected 200 diapers and about $310, both of which the pantry will distribute the needy families and use to buy goods, Bartels said.
Bartels and the other MOMS Club members said they are hoping the money raised and diapers collected will create a substantial supply for families in need that use the Bowie Interfaith Food Pantry.
Club members said they hoped the event would help people understand that diapers can be tough for some families to afford, as they range from $6 to $15 for a 40 pack.
Shartoyea Dixon of Upper Marlboro said she attended the show because she knew the money would make its way to mothers in the area.
“I think that’s it’s a great effort,” Dixon said. “Diapers are one of the most expensive things to buy next to food. Even if you use cloth diapers, it is an expense.”
Other parents said holding a puppet show while raising money was a good way for parents to meet and support a good cause.
“It is strength in numbers, you know,” said Maria Centeno of Bowie. “The more the moms are able to help, the more help that is able to be given.”
While the club collected 200 diapers, more parents paid with money. Bartels said the MOMS club plans to purchase child-based goods, such as more diapers, and deliver them to the food pantry.
The ultimate goal, Adkins said, was making sure those who need diapers have access.
“The thought that you would have to leave a child in a dirty diaper for the entire day is just heartbreaking,” Adkins said. “The thought of having to leave [my daughter] that uncomfortable, that unsanitary because I couldn’t afford diapers ... it drives me insane.”