Some mothers around the world do not have enough of something many Americans take for granted — diapers for their babies.
Selina Forester, a Lee University student from Ringgold, Ga., said it can cost some women an entire day’s wages just to afford two cloth diapers that then have to be washed and reused throughout the day.
“That’s crazy because babies go through about 10 diapers a day,” she said.
That fact inspired the senior biology major to start Bundled and Blessed Ministries so those mothers can have the resources they need to keep their babies clean and dry all day.
Forester’s sister went on a trip to Honduras with her church to provide medical and dental care to those who needed it. Participants also handed out clothes, including cloth diapers.
Forester’s sister said they ran out of diapers on the first day of the trip, because they were so much needed.
A college friend, who had also taken part in Christian missions, confirmed what Forester’s sister had said about the need for diapers in other countries. The friend told her some women had only two diapers to use all day.
That prompted Forester to start some online research to find out how she could help.
“It’s my responsibility to make the world a better place,” Forester said.
In her research, she found that cloth diapers could be made from T-shirts with patterns that can be mastered by even those new to sewing.
She realized it would be possible to make more cloth diapers to send with missionaries instead of just sending store-bought ones.
Forester began working with volunteers from her church over the summer to collect new or gently used T-shirts.
From there, they began to hold “sewing parties” to make cloth diapers using an agreed-upon pattern. She said it only took experienced sewers about 15 or 20 minutes to complete each one.
“We have T-shirts coming out our ears,” Forester said. “Right now, we’re trying to find people to help us sew them.”
So far, one “sewing party” has taken place in Cleveland, at the headquarters of Baptist Collegiate Ministries near the Cleveland State Community College.
She said she would like to see more local parties take place.
Once a good supply of diapers is ready, they give them to people planning to travel to areas where they might be needed.
This summer, they were able to send 800 diapers to impoverished communities in Central America, a number that included the ones they made as well as some professionally made ones that had been donated. The original goal was to send about 600.
Forester said families having more cloth diapers at their disposal means more money is freed up for other necessities like food.
Now, she has her sights on sending even more diapers on future trips. So far, 280 more cloth diapers are ready to send.
She said she didn’t think her idea would take off like it has, but she was grateful for the support of people back home and in Cleveland.
“I think God’s behind this 100 percent,” Forester said. “I think I dreamt a little small at the beginning.”
Anyone can help Bundled and Blessed by making monetary donations to purchase items like T-shirts, thread and extra sewing machines, or donating the items themselves, she said.