Since 2020—or rather, the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic—there's been a shortage in a variety of supplies. We can't forget about the infamous toilet paper shortage, and now there is a baby formula shortage because of the recall of a major brand.
But other baby items are in high demand, too. Items like diapers, wipes and breast pumps are facing delays getting to new and expectant mothers.
They can visit local donation drives.
Sarasota is a generous town, and an upcoming diaper drive taking place at the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit in University Town Center proves just that. The drive will take place from Thursday, June 16, to Sunday, June 19, in honor of Father's Day weekend. The immersive art exhibit partnered with local nonprofit Healthy Start Sarasota, an organization that serves new and expecting mothers, families and babies in Sarasota-Manatee.
Participants can take Dad to the exhibit for Father's Day for free if they bring a standard-sized package of diapers or disposable toddler training pants to the drive. All the donations will go to Healthy Start, where members and nonmembers of the organization can go and pick up free supplies.
"We created this drive because there has been a high demand for diapers throughout the year," says Healthy Start's development coordinator Patricia McMahon. "We've held diaper drives in the past at the Longboat Key Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club and other residential communities in the past. It's been one of the ways we've been able to keep stock for the continuous demand."
McMahon says Healthy Start keeps diapers and wipes at their office and anyone, client or not, can pick some up for free. The organization also provides breast pumps, formula and used baby clothing.
McMahon says there are many dads who use Healthy Start's services—especially single ones. That's why she thinks an event tied to Father's Day is important.
"It will be a good weekend to not only honor the dads in our lives, but also acknowledge that children have fathers who are in need of resources and parenting help, too," she says.
Healthy Start's main goal is to help alleviate gaps in service and the tremendous need of all diverse groups in our community. Currently, the organization is working on launching a program for Spanish-speaking individuals, so they can get access to services in their native language. They also have a program focused on helping Black women and other women of color get the help and care they need.
But Healthy Start, as McMahon says, is for anyone, no matter ethnicity, employment status, financial status or demographic.
"We are free and confidential," says McMahon. "We want to give everyone the opportunity to receive support and educational resources that help them raise happy and healthy families."
To donate to the diaper drive, visit the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit at 195 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota from Thursday, June 16 to Sunday, June 19 at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For tickets to the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit, click here. For more information about Healthy Start Sarasota, click here or call (941) 373-7070. Healthy Start Sarasota's Coalition office is located at 1750 17th St., Building A, Sarasota.