By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Imagine having no choice but to leave your baby in a soiled diaper or needing to reuse a disposable diaper because you can’t afford to buy more. This is a scenario some mothers and fathers — many in our own community — face each day.
Deanna and Chris Hornback are working to change this humbling reality. The Hornbacks, parishioners of St. Bernadette Church, created the St. Bernadette Diaper Bank in May 2013 after Deanna saw a news story describing some families’ need for diapers.
“At the time my mother was holding my nine-month-old daughter and said ‘this can’t happen,’ ” she recalled.
“I couldn’t imagine not being able to change her diaper.”
Since the diaper bank’s creation, the ministry at St. Bernadette has given away more than 100,000 diapers to 10 local agencies including Catholic Charities, the Golden Arrow Center at St. Martin of Tours Church and the Little Way Pregnancy Resource Center.
Most of these donations have come by way of diaper drives hosted by numerous parishes and schools, including St. Martha Church, the confirmation class at St. Patrick Church, St.Bartholomew Church, St. Brigid Church, St. Leonard School, St. Barnabas Church, the now-closed Holy Family School, St. Athanasius, the fall sports teams at St. Mary Academy and St. Luke Church. Other groups, including the St. Agnes Respect Life Committee, have provided checks to purchase diapers. Businesses, including Humana and Progressive, have also made donations.
Hornback noted that during 2014, 22 diaper drives were held in the Louisville area to benefit the St. Bernadette Diaper Bank. Several groups hosted more than one diaper drive. And, many of these parishes and schools have committed to hosting another diaper drive in 2015, she said.
Hornback said the ministry is rapidly growing, in large part, from community support.
In fact, the ministry has grown so much that Sam Kinnard’s Flooring donated a space in its warehouse to store the donated diapers. The Hornbacks had previously operated the ministry from their home.
A recent donation of 50,000 diapers (25,000 size 3 diapers and 25,000 size 4 diapers) was made by Meijer and Huggies.
Each month, the ministry donates between 6,000 and 10,000 diapers. Most months average about 6,000, Hornback said, because the diaper bank doesn’t always have the sizes that social service agencies need.
“This month, we received requests for 15,000 diapers but were only able to give 6,000 because of sizes” they requested, Hornback explained. “We are grateful for any size we get, but what happens at the diapers drives is that we get a lot of (size) 1’s, 2’s and 3’s.”
Hornback noted that size 4’s, 5’s, 6’s and pull-up diapers are desperately needed as well.
Hornback said she feels more people will become involved as they become more educated on the need.
“When you think of helping people, you think about shelter and you think about clothing. People don’t think outside that box. But, diapers are babies’ clothing. Diapers are what keep them healthy,” she said.
Hornback said she continues to be involved in the ministry because babies are helpless and shouldn’t have to suffer.
“Knowing that babies don’t have a choice, especially the little ones who have to lay there. It’s horrible for them,” she said.
She also said the help is a relief for parents who are likely already dealing with other financial hardships.
“To be able to relieve that burden. It helps parents’ self-esteem. I can’t imagine, as a mother, not being able to change a little one,” she said.
She added that government programs, such as WIC, do not provide funds for diapers.
Parishes, schools, individuals or business that want to hold a diaper drive are encouraged to contact Hornback by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the group’s Facebook page: “Saint Bernadette Diaper Bank.”
Groups that wish to provide gift cards or donations to be used for diapers are encouraged to mail those to St. Bernadette Church, c/o St. Bernadette Diaper Bank, 6500 Saint Bernadette Avenue, Prospect, Ky., 40059. Note “diaper ministry” on any checks.