Food kits and diapers help U.S. families get by

Many families across the United States struggle to provide basics, like food and diapers, for their children. World Vision distributed basics to families in need in Auburn, Washington, and with your help, World Vision can help more families.

By Andrea Peer, World Vision U.S.
Published November 7, 2013 at 10:00am PST

On a Saturday morning, nearly 1,000 moms, dads, grandparents, and children lined up outside Grace Community church in Auburn, Washington. Some families arrived as early as 8 a.m., two hours before the doors opened. Inside, they knew, was a room full of necessary treasures — clothing for babies and kids, strollers, cribs, toys, diapers, food, and more.

World Vision donated several pallets of diapers and boxes of food kits — easy-to-prepare meals, such as rice and beans and macaroni and cheese, that can feed a family of five for a day.  

Waiting in line stood Rey, with his pregnant wife, Elizabeth, and his young daughter. “It’s a hard time for families nowadays,” he says.

Diapers and diarrhea

Meghan, 21, brought her 8-month-old daughter, Autumn Rose, and her younger brother to the event. “I’m a single mom and not working, so I can utilize any help I can get,” she says. “It’s very hard, especially being unemployed.”

Waiting in line, Meghan said she was most excited about getting diapers. This past week, Autumn Rose has had severe diarrhea. “In one day I’ve probably changed 12 diapers. I was almost out of my supply,” says Meghan.

Autumn Rose has a condition called candida, which is a yeast growth in her intestines. he began having symptoms when she was three weeks old. Meghan relies on state assistance, occasional support from her parents, who are on a fixed income, and her friends.

On this particular day, Meghan got a pack of diapers that should last her about two weeks, maybe more depending on her daughter’s symptoms. She also received baby clothes and other supplies.

“I really don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have all these resources available to me,” she says. “It’s pretty hard. Everything is so expensive. When I do get money I have to pretty much pay my bills, and what’s left goes to [Autumn Rose]. I try to watch how much I spend on her, though, because I need gas money to get her to doctor’s appointments.”

Stretching diapers to just get by

Kayla Jeffries has a 5-year-old named Michael, a 3-year-old named Mia, and a 20-month-old named Maya. After the children’s father was deported, Kayla moved in with her mom, Michelle, who lives in low-income housing.

“My mom tells me Maya needs her diaper changed, and I say, ‘Well, she needs to wait, just 15 minutes.’ We don’t really have that many diapers, and we need to make them last. If she’s not too wet…, then she’s going to [use] that diaper one more time,” says Kayla firmly.

One time Maya got a really bad rash. “I would almost start crying every time I changed her diaper because her skin would be so raw. It was horrible,” remembers Kayla.

Several packs of diapers, a new stroller, new clothes, and food are a relief for Kayla. “I usually get quite a few food stamps from the state, and we go to the food bank. We like the food bank,” says Kayla as if trying to convince herself.

Michelle, chimes in, “We just do what we can.” Kayla adds, “We just get by.”

Michael copies her cheerfully: “Yep, we just get by!”

Food kits for families

At a table stacked with food kits inside Grace Community Church, 13-year-old Katie Laverty greeted families and handed them bags of food. Each kit contained enough food to feed a family of five for one day by providing sustenance such as oatmeal, lentil soup, and pasta.

Katie came as a volunteer with her dad and her younger sister.

“It was scary to see how many people needed all that stuff. There were a lot of people,” she says. This event helped Katie see how much is available to her.

“I can open up my pantry and find something in there. … I think we all do this, I’m like, ‘There’s nothing in here to eat,’ when you have a pantry full of food. We should be grateful for everything we have because we have a lot more than a lot of people. And not just out in third-world countries.”

Romanita Hairston, vice president of U.S. Programs for World Vision, wants to raise awareness about problems faced by children in the U.S.

“World Vision is extremely concerned about the growing number of children who aren’t getting enough food to eat on a daily basis,” said Hairston. “When children don’t eat, hunger creates a negative domino effect impacting not only a child’s health but their ability to concentrate in school and their overall well-being.”

How you can help

Pray for families across the country. Ask God to provide them with the resources they need to care for their children.

Make a one-time donation to help feed a hungry U.S. family. Your gift will help deliver nutritious meals like oatmeal, lentil soup, or pasta, and a bean and rice casserole to American families who struggle with hunger.