With the Jubilee Year of Mercy coming to a close, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden, directed its focus on the corporal work of mercy, “Clothe the naked.” It was an effort to clothe some of the most precious of God’s creation — infants living in poverty.
A need for many new parents struggling to make ends meet is diapers. The cost of diapers for one baby is about $100 per month, and government assistance programs do not cover the cost of these essential items.
Catholic Charities appealed to parishes, charitable organizations and individuals to conduct diaper and baby wipe drives, and thousands of diapers were collected and distributed at a “Showers of Mercy,” held in five locations throughout the diocese on Nov. 18.
“Diapers are something that’s a constant worry,” said one mother of three who attended the event. “They’re so expensive, and I have two kids who wear them. It really adds up, especially on top of all the other expenses.”
Pink and blue crepe ribbons, balloons and other decorations with a baby shower theme adorned the rooms where clients of Catholic Charities, refugees, immigrants and other needy families gathered to receive packages of diapers, wipes, and baby blankets. Cake and refreshments were served as the families enjoyed socializing with the staff and with each other.
A raffle was held for donated items including high chairs, baby clothes and baby food. Representatives from WIC and SNAP-ED (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — Education) attended to offer information and referrals, and physicians were also on hand to offer free health screenings.
“I don’t get out much with the baby,” said one participant at the Camden Shower of Mercy location, “so I really enjoyed getting to know the other moms and sharing our experiences. And I’m so thankful for the diapers, I feel like I’m always running low or running out. This has been such a treat.”
“A box of diapers may not seem like much,” explained Michel Acevedo, one of the Catholic Charities event organizers. “But for many of these families, it’s one more dinner that they can put on the table because it’s one less box of diapers that they need to buy this month.”
Catholic Charities extends its gratitude to all who donated diapers and other items to its “Showers of Mercy” for helping clothe impoverished children and bring Pope Francis’ message of mercy to so many families.