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Making Change: Marie Davidson working to address diaper poverty in SC

When AgFirst Lead Business Analyst Marie Davidson first heard about diaper poverty on the radio, she was stunned to hear how many families it affects. In South Carolina alone, 90% of families who receive diapers from a diaper bank are working and still unable to afford an adequate supply. 

“When I first heard about all the health issues that can occur when families don’t have enough diapers, it was mindboggling to me. That’s a moment I will never forget, and that’s when I decided I needed to do my part to help,” Davidson said. 

She started out buying diapers in bulk and providing them to Harvest Hope Food Bank for several months. Then, one day, she passed a door with a Power in Changing logo. The logo intrigued her, and she went inside the office to learn more. It was then she found out Power in Changing was a nonprofit focused on collecting donated diapers and distributing them to families experiencing diaper poverty throughout the state. 

With distribution points in Richland, Lexington and Kershaw counties, Power in Changing serves families with children up to age three who are experiencing financial hardship. In addition to providing free diapers, wipes and formula, the organization also accepts and distributes new and gently used shoes, clothing and other items babies and toddlers need to thrive. 

From the moment she learned about the nonprofit’s mission, Davidson became a volunteer and active advocate for the organization. Through her steady volunteer efforts for nearly a year – which included donating diapers and clothing, restocking shelves and packaging diapers – she was asked by Power in Changing’s executive director to join the board. Davidson is now in her second year serving in that capacity. 

“I’m passionate about what this organization does and have a soft spot when it comes to donating and volunteering to help babies. Babies can’t help anything about their circumstances – they have no control of what they were born into,” she said. “No baby should have to wear a wet diaper all day because the family cannot afford frequent diaper changes.” 

Diapers are an unmet basic need for many families and with no federal assistance programs that fund or provide diapers, the need for diaper banks like Power in Changing is prevalent. By meeting low-income families’ basic needs, the organization seeks to relieve certain stresses for more people to help break the cycle of diaper poverty. 

“Our goal is to not just give products, but also enrich families by helping them build their skills,” Davidson said. On top of providing diapers, wipes and other baby items, the nonprofit also has a Family Empowerment Program focused on helping households lay a strong foundation for a successful future that focuses on the core values of family, career, education and integrity. 

To support Power in Changing’s mission, AgFirst donated $1,500 to the organization and has the nonprofit on the bank’s September Jeans Day schedule. This is where employees donate to a local organization selected for the month and in turn, can wear jeans on Wednesdays that month. Power in Changing’s Jeans Day month coincides with National Diaper Need Awareness Week, which will be celebrated this year Sept. 23-29. 

With a staff of just three employees, the organization relies heavily on volunteers to support its mission. That’s why several AgFirst employees recently volunteered to pack diapers, stock shelves and organize the nonprofit’s stockroom. Seeing how much work is still needed, more employee volunteer events at the organization are already in the works. 

“I’m so appreciative that AgFirst is contributing to this cause because this need is right in our backyard. It means so much that the bank and its employees are helping Power in Changing – both financially and with volunteer efforts,” Davidson said. 

AgFirst is proud to support Power in Changing’s programs to help more families in South Carolina keep their babies happy, healthy and clean.

Woman holds a pack of diapers