Building a stronger community: United Way holding diaper drive

Published 11:33 pm Saturday, March 9, 2024

Sometimes, having a job just doesn’t quite bring in enough to provide the basics.

United Way of West Central Mississippi officials say ALICE, or Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed households are
abundant in Warren County, with 48 percent of house- holds in the area living beneath the ALICE threshold. But, United Way is seeking to make an impact and build stronger communities, beginning with the smallest residents — infants and toddlers — by hosting an annual diaper drive. United Way Director of Marketing and Resource Development Alyssa Lick said it’s all about giving back.

“Individuals in our community who have a job, but a lot of times they don’t have enough to make ends meet, they have to pick
between ‘Am I going to buy groceries or am I going to pay the light bill this month?’ It creates challenges for them,” Lick said.

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Household costs and income are two pillars of the ALICE measures, Lick said.

“People who are ALICE are those who are employed, but sometimes can’t make ends meet and don’t meet the poverty level, so they don’t receive government assistance. They struggle.”

United Way Executive Director Michele Connelly explained that the diaper drive is one of the basic building blocks in the goal to build a stronger community through education.

“It begins with infants and toddlers who need diapers to be able to go to daycare to begin learning.”

From there, Connelly said, United Way collaborates with agencies to provide reading and learning resources for all age levels.

Lick said 25,000 diapers were collected last year, and they hope to exceed that goal this year. Diapers are collected at the Unit- ed Way office and given to individual agencies for distribution to qualifying families. Some of the agencies who distribute the diapers include the Center for Pregnancy Choices, Vicksburg Child Abuse Prevention Center, Warren County Children’s Shelter and Vicksburg Family Development.

The diaper drive will end Monday, April 1. Lick said she encourages businesses to collect unopened packages of diapers and wipes using a donation box and even to offer friendly challenges with neighboring businesses to see who can collect the most.

Individuals who would like to donate can drop off new packages of disposable diapers and wipes at the United Way office, located at 920 South Street in Vicksburg.