FishHawk Mom Seeks Diapers for Low-Income Families
Debi Rucker is urging schools, churches and businesses to host diaper drives to help fill the need.
In the past six months, hundreds of needy moms have received free diapers for their babies and toddlers, courtesy of the FishHawk Ranch-based nonprofit, Blessed Bottoms.
But the need continues to grow. That's why founder Debi Rucker is urging churches, schools and businesses to host diaper drives this summer.
Realizing that many mothers were struggling just to feed their children, much less purchase diapers for them, Rucker started Blessed Bottoms in December.
Since then, she and volunteers have distributed more than 42,000 diapers to partner organizations including LifeCare of Brandon, which helps women facing crisis pregnancies; A Kid's Place of Brandon, which serves neglected and abused children; and Seeds of Hope, a food bank at Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Lithia.
"There's a tremendous need," said the FishHawk Ranch mother of two. "According to the HUGGIES Every Little Bottom Study, one in 20 moms struggling with diaper needs have cleaned out and reused wet or soiled disposable diapers.
"Diapers are a critical hygiene item, necessary for the health and well being of infants and toddlers," said Rucker. "However, a healthy supply of diapers can cost as much as $100 per month per child for a family, and federal assistance programs do not pay for or supply diapers."
Since establishing Blessed Bottoms, Rucker has gotten the entire community involved in collecting diapers and funds for the nonprofit. Blessed Bottoms has conducted eight diaper drives and multiple fundraisers.
And Rucker is hoping the community will continue its support.
To make it easy for residents to donate, she's established diaper drop-offs at Love's Good Year, 1701 State Road 60 E., Valrico; Open Arms Childcare Center, 10560 Browning Rd., Lithia; Grace Community United Methodist Church, 5708 Lithia-Pinecrest Rd., Lithia; and Steinmart, 3456 Lithia-Pinecrest Rd., Valrico.
Residents also can donate funds for the purchase of diapers on the Blessed Bottoms website.
"Donations will allow us to purchase diapers in bulk and get the cost down to 20 to 30 cents per diaper or 40 cents for pullups," Rucker said.
She added that, since Blessed Bottoms is run by volunteers, 100 percent of the donations go to purchasing diapers. And all donations are tax deductible.