HOPEWELL — The Hopewell-Prince George Healthy Families completed its second annual Diaper Drive in which the organization collected 9,006 diapers, almost double its goal, to be distributed to families in need in the area.

Vicky Archer of Hopewell-Prince George Healthy Families spearheaded the effort to start this annual drive after recognizing an overwhelming need among the families her organization serves.

“A lot of [the families] are low-income, and even though they may have things like WICK or food stamps, stuff like that doesn’t cover diapers. Diapers are a really hard expense, and those just don’t cover it. There’s no help, there’s no assistance for it,” Archer said.

In response to this need, Archer and the rest of the team at Hopewell-Prince George Healthy Families, decided to start a diaper drive in 2017. The first drive collected approximately 3,600 diapers and these sustained over 15 families for the rest of year. The supply would not always have the exact size that the families were looking for, but never completely ran out.

Constance Gray, a mother of four including one-year-old twins, used the diaper resource last year. “It was nice to be able to say, ‘Hey we’ve hit this hard time, can I come pick up some diapers?’ and not have to ask my grandma, or my dad, because they help me in other ways... Now, often if you go seek help, people will judge you, so it’s nice to have a place to go to and not be judged.”

Archer discussed the feasibility of alternatives to disposable diapers. “While some families try to use reusable diapers...not everybody has a washing machine in their home and there are still a lot of people who go to laundromats, so doing that, and that extra added expense, sometimes just doesn’t work out for people.” Archer said, “This is just giving them something that can at least ease up some of the need that they have.”

“We go through 6-7 a day, so yeah, we go through a lot of diapers,” Gray said. The cost of these diapers adds up.

On Amazon.com prices of diapers range from 17-40 cents per diaper, with even more expensive ones for babies allergic to certain diapers. For a family like Gray’s, this means spending $35-80 a month on diapers. The diaper drive seeks to alleviate that expense.

This year, the drive collected enough to serve not only families in the Hopewell-Prince George Healthy Families program, but to serve any family in need in the area. Families not in the Healthy Families program are encouraged to call the office to be connected with the resource.

Jeanie Grandstaff, the outgoing director of Hopewell water renewal noted, “It’s very appropriate for a poop plant to provide poop containers.”

Maxine Tinsley, a former business manager at the Hopewell Water Renewal spoke to the history of generosity among its employees, “When people are in need, the employees here have always gotten together...they’ve just always been the ones that come around to help.”

Around 20 water renewal employees, almost half the staff, donated to the drive, averaging 277 diapers (with a $50-90 value) per employee.

“We over-excelled, but we always do that,” Jerry Byerly, the new director of Hopewell water renewal, joked. “We got into the competition, we wanted to beat everybody else. But win or lose, we helped a lot of people, and that’s what it’s all about.”