By DON STINE
For the needy or people going through a disaster, providing food, clothing and housing are the first things to come to mind- but how about diapers?
“We have been providing diapers since Superstorm Sandy. We try to focus on unmet needs and we saw this as a major unmet need that we tried to fill. Other organizations were focusing on food, clothing, housing but not on this need- so we do,” said Isaac Friedel, the lead pastor at the Jersey Shore Dream Center located in Neptune.
The center will be collecting disposable baby diapers, for newborns up to size five, for the entire month of February. In Neptune diapers can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at administrative offices, the township’s senior center, or at the Neptune public library.
Neptune Township Committeeman Robert Lane Jr. said he hopes people and organizations will support the diaper drive.
“There is a need out there and they are the only ones is this area filling this need,” he said.
Lane said he has also been reaching out to other communities to promote the diaper drivel.
“It doesn’t just stop at our borders and everybody can help out,” he said.
The JSDC distributed 39,270 diapers in 2016 to people referred to its diaper distribution pantry in the Neptune area. The number of diapers handed out last year is not yet available.
“It’s a need that a lot of people don’t realize. No other pantries do this and it’s a difficult donation to get. Getting donations of food is easy but diapers are difficult because they never expire and stores are reluctant to donate them,” Friedel said.
So, the JCDC relies on small organizations and grassroots donations.
The mission of the Jersey Shore Dream Center, which opened in 2012, is to provide sustainability through Godly restoration of men, women, children, seniors, and veterans who are overcome by life controlling issues, such as chronic homelessness, addiction, poverty, abuse and hunger. It serves residents mostly in Monmouth County but also extends its services into other counties to people living under the poverty line and battling life-controlling issues.
It is considered one of the largest outreach centers in the area, with 14 weekly programs including food trucks, food pantries, soup kitchens, adopt-a-block programs, diaper pantry, a women’s discipleship program and family home restoration. These programs impacted over 40,000 people in 2016.