The Ottumwa Courier

Features

March 28, 2011

Church works on ‘Diapers for Haiti’

Church’s youth collected T-shirts, the source of the colorful cloth diapers

OTTUMWA — It’s unusual to see 185 colorful diapers on a clothesline in a church and funny to know church members’ favorite has “Ottumwa Bulldogs” on its seat.

A crew of volunteers worked Thursday afternoon at Church of the Brethren, 1212 W. Williams St., on “Diapers for Haiti.” The effort evolved after the country was devastated by a major quake.

Ernie Dicks, one of the project coordinators, said the local effort stems from the work of the Missionaries of Charity and Mother Teresa’s Sisters. Other churches are helping, too, according to Dicks. First Lutheran Church’s youth helped by collecting T-shirts, which are the source of the colorful, cloth diapers. They gathered more than 200 T-shirts over two Sundays.

The Church of the Brethren’s new pastor, the Rev. Brian Archer, arrived Dec. 1 and was happy to see what his new congregation was doing.

“I’m thrilled to come to a church so willing to give time and resources for a global effort,” he said Thursday. “That makes my job easier.”

Archer is also working with the church’s youth on ways to help Japan.

“This whole congregation thinks outside of themselves,  and that’s refreshing,” he added.

Dicks said 100 diapers were the original goal. So far 185 have been completed.

The diapers previously used in Haiti were just triangular pieces of cloth gathered between the baby’s legs and tied in a knot at the belly. But, that diaper style allowed too much leakage and the walking children would lose the diaper as it slid down to the floor.

The volunteers at Church of the Brethren followed ideas from the Haiti Diaper Project. They make the diapers with two layers of the T-shirt fabric cut in a hour glass shape, according to Karen Bailey, who calls herself “one of the cutter-outers.”

Next, the volunteers sew a soaker pad down the middle of the diaper and add elastic at the legs. Velcro closures complete the diaper. No pins are involved, and it’s all one piece for easy use and washing.

Pat Sincox also participated in the volunteer effort and packed her sewing machine into a room across the hall from the clothesline. She “has sewed for a long time” and enjoys it, especially when it’s for a good cause.

When she was 11 or 12, Pauline Dicks did embroidery and crocheting. She also enjoys the church’s volunteer projects to benefit others.

The diaper project continues until August. Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Church of the Brethren, 641-684-7051.

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