To kick off the 2018 Lenten Deacon Diaper Drive, Deacon Jim Carter played stand-up comic in post-Mass announcements at his parish, Our Lady of Lourdes in Washington.
He started simply enough,”It’s that time of year for the deacon diaper drive.”
Then, he went right into material.
• “That’s as opposed to ‘Deacon Diapers,’ which may come later … it Depends.”
He was on a roll.
• “This is a drive you can really get behind.”
There was no stopping him now.
• “I have lived such a Pamper-ed life.”
Then, kidding aside, he talked about the heartbreaking stories of young moms and families who lack financial resources but desperately need assistance to keep their babies dry. Sadly, many have to pick food and shelter ahead of their young ones cleanliness and comfort.
Lourdes parishioners responded generously to Deacon Carter’s request, as did numerous Catholics throughout the archdiocese, and made the drive’s third installment a smashing success. Deacon Carter needed just one word to describe the results.
“Phenomenal” he said.
Pending final numbers from parishes still collecting, the deacons’ diaper drive has brought in about 277,000 diapers and 32,000 wipes, along with changing pads, blankets, cash and other donations. Lourdes parishioners alone donated 18,000 diapers, a 400 percent increase over last year, and second among archdiocesan parishes; not bad for a parish with 950 families.
The 277,000 figure represents a 53.8 percent increase over the 180,000 collected in Year Two, which was a 44 percent increase over the inaugural collection of 125,000 in 2016. That’s 582,000 diapers collected over 25 months.
To put that into financial terms, it amounts to $116,400 worth of diapers — based on an average cost of 20 cents per disposable diaper.
The diapers were put to immediate use, too, with donations going to Our Lady’s Inn, Birthright, crisis nurseries, pregnancy assistance centers, St. Vincent de Paul committees and other children’s charities.
“We are having a tremendous pro-life impact on our communities,” said Deacon Carter, who has directed the drive the past two years. He’s also been on hand when young mothers pick up one-month supplies of diapers and wipes, which is at once humbling and awe-inspiring.
“I have seen their faces (and) helped wipe the tears of gratitude that they have shed,” he stated.
Carter expects donations to grow in the coming years as more parishes participate and Catholic St. Louisans continue to show their largess in filling this crucial need and “changing lives for the better.”
>> Diapers by the numbers
A few numbers from the 2018 installment of the Lenten Deacon Diaper Drive
3 • drives to date
52 • parishes participating
183 • parishes in the archdiocese
125,000 • diapers collected in 2016
180,000 • diapers collected in 2017
277,000 • diapers collected in 2018
582,000 • diapers collected in three drives over 25 months