Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

The Morris County Youth Shelter this summer collected more than 7,000 diapers for distribution to needy Morris County families.

Kristen Lewin, adolescent counselor at the Shelter, coordinated the countywide diaper drive. The Whippany resident said the inspiration for the drive came after the Youth Shelter residents and staff volunteered at the Interfaith Food Pantry and saw families who needed not only the food, but also diapers and other essentials for their children.

“We all were inspired to try to help in some small way and the Diaper Drive seemed like a great way for us to give back to the community,” Lewin said.

The Youth Shelter arranged for drop off locations at several county government facilities as well as Temple B’nai Or in Morristown. The Hanover Township School Age Child Care Summer Program also joined in, making this one of their projects for the summer.

The 7,000 diapers have been distributed to the Interfaith Food Pantry, the Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance and Child & Family Resources, all of whom partner in the community to help needy families.

“The diaper drive has given the youth at the Shelter a sense of community and the feeling of helping others less fortunate,” said Mark Smith, Shelter director. “This is an important part of the philosophy at the Shelter, which provides short-term care for children who, for various reasons, can no longer stay in their homes.”

Christine Kelly Gothmann, youth activities coordinator at the Shelter, said the staff and residents of the Shelter hope to make the diaper drive an annual event.

“The diaper driver gave staff and youth alike a chance to participate in a most worthy cause,” Gothmann, of Denville, said. “It gave us a tremendous opportunity to help others.”

For more information about the Morris County Youth Shelter or to learn how you can help with future diaper drives, call (973) 285-2970 or visit the Morris County website at www.co.morris.nj.us.