By COLBY DENTON
Faith Memorial Church's DiaperLove program needs more diapers to satisfy the increasing demand by growing families in Cleveland during the holidays. Faith Memorial, which was started by the late …
Faith Memorial Church's DiaperLove program needs more diapers to satisfy the increasing demand by growing families in Cleveland during the holidays.
Faith Memorial, which was started by the late Rev. M.E. Littlefield, has only recently adopted DiaperLove into its humanitarian efforts.
"The Reverend Littlefield had been helping others for years before I even met him, in 1973," said Faith Memorial’s current pastor, the Rev. Jimmy DuPree. "He had such a heart for benevolence."
In 2015, Cleveland's The Caring Place could no longer supply the number of diapers needed to fulfill the community's demand. DiaperLove was then given to Faith Memorial, which has been aiding the community with its food drive for nearly 70 years.
While the desire to help is present, supply cannot always meet demand, as additional diapers are needed on a daily basis for needy families.
"One box of diapers will only last for so long, which is why we have families lined up in the cold to get these diapers," said DuPree. "It's also not only low-income families, but also middle-class families who may be having a hard time making ends meet for their babies' needs."
Earl Moats, chairman of the Deacon Board at Faith Memorial, believes their combined food and diaper drives have impacted citizens significantly.
"We've helped a lot of people here, and just with food alone, we typically give away a quarter of a million dollars of food per year," said Moats.
DuPree said the church wishes to bring aid in whatever way possible, whether it be through collecting food for shelters, bringing food to the homeless themselves or fulfilling the basic needs of babies, as through the diaper drive project. He said volunteers serve as the workforce for both food and diaper drives showcases their dedication to making a difference.
"Christ said, 'Beloved, let us love one another,' and John said, 'How can we say we love God, who we haven't seen, if we don't love our fellow man, who we do see?'" said DuPree.
Church secretary Sandy Burger believes the DiaperLove program fulfills needs that most humanitarian programs do not.
"If you go to most food pantries, you're not going to see diapers, wipes, ointments or formula," she said. "We are providing for needs that most people wouldn't think about."
According to DuPree, the diaper closet is completely out of Newborn, Size 1, Size 4 and Size 5 diapers.
"We currently have about 25 boxes of diapers, but I'm sure they will be gone within two weeks," said DuPree.
There are no restrictions on the people who receive aid from Faith Memorial. DuPree states being part of the Feed America program allows the church to get its donations and distribute them without expecting anything in return, just as Christ would have done.
DuPree said he is always happy to see people who his church has helped come to church services, but the goal isn't to get more to come to their church; their stated goal is to minister to the needs of the community.
"Being part of Feed America means grocery stores that are also part of the organization can donate to our food bank, and help us in whatever way they can," he added.
In order to receive aid from the church, a family must submit proof of identity, income and Social Security, because the church is accountable to its benefactors.
Faith Memorial's food bank is open Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., and its offices are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Anyone interested in volunteering or donating diapers or food to the church's program can contact Faith Memorial Church at 423-476-6281.
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