Brenna Woodley and her husband are the founders of Bundles of Joy Diaper Bank, which she describes as Chicago's first and only independent diaper depository.
"We collect diapers by organizing drives around the city and distributing them around the city to families that cannot afford to buy them," Woodley said.
The family's garage serves as the operation's warehouse. Woodley got the idea while volunteering at a North Side social services agency.
"Agency staff were just telling us about the need for diapers and that just made us think this was a problem we could solve if we just educated the public about it," Woodley said. "You cannot use food stamps, your LINK card to buy diapers... You also can't get it through WIC, which provides formula and other products for mothers."
Woodley sets out bins in neighborhood establishments for easy donation drop-off. Her next stop is Chicago Uptown Ministry, which operates a food pantry and offers other supportive services.
"People would come in and ask and if we could help. We would, but it was rare that we had diapers that we can provide. But now, of course, that people know that we have the ability to meet that need, they do come in regularly," Emily Jackson, executive director of Chicago Uptown Ministry, said.
In addition to diapers, Woodley hopes to soon expand her offerings to include seminars and workshops at some of the partner agencies.
"We know of consultants that offer potty training classes, positive discipline classes, breastfeeding classes, things that some women in these neighborhoods don't ordinarily have access to and those consultants are willing to offer their services for free," Woodley said.
Bundle of Joy distributes diapers at 14 food pantries across the city and gives away as many as 35,000 diapers a month. To find out more about the donation drop off locations, visit bundleofjoydiaperbank.org or lcfs.org.