Like so many others, I'm looking forward to a new year. Even so, over the past month, I've been going through the stats for the Maker's Place in 2020. I've got to tell you—it's incredible to see how far we've come! Our diaper bank and resource center filled in the gaps for over a thousand families, during one of the most difficult years in living memory. Last year, two out of every ten children in Trenton under the age of 4 received diapers from a Diaper Depot! We launched a mobile diaper bank, set up six distribution sites with local anti-poverty partners, and gave away more than 100,000 diapers, wipes, and other essentials.
I've made a nifty infographic to help you get a sense of all that we've accomplished together. Don't get lost in the numbers—read on to see Shelby's story. Our mission isn't just about getting resources out the door. It's about engaging people in a cycle of generosity that leads to abundant community and renewed life.
Over the past six months, our Maker's Place team has come to know a mother named Shelby. Shelby nearly lost her housing during the pandemic, because a housemate fell sick with COVID-19 and was taken to the hospital. Shelby, the mother of a six-month old, couldn’t afford rent. Yet the day she told us her story, Shelby had come to donate diapers she didn't need. Stories like that—stories of abundant generosity in the midst of harrowing difficulty—motivate us every day to carry out our mission, as we work to make a change for families living in poverty.
Shelby’s story is a microcosm of all that is worst and best about the current COVID-19 crisis. 90% of Maker’s Place families are experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic, and 85% have had to choose between purchasing diapers and paying for other essentials like rent or food. And yet, by leaning into the generosity of neighbors near and far, we've been able to witness the triumph of generosity and joy. We passed along Shelby’s extra diapers to another family, and worked with Shelby to get housing for hers.
I hope you’ll stay connected with us over the coming months. We’ve got a big year ahead, as we expand our diaper bank to serve more families, add on new partnership programs—like our new “Formula Depot”, which provides free emergency supplies of baby formula—and continue to connect neighbors like Shelby with neighbors like you and me, for the good of us all. Please continue to support us with your prayers, your (socially-distanced) presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness into 2021. We'd love your help as we build abundant community together!
Rev. Michael Reed
Director for the Maker's Place