As any parent will attest, diapers are expensive. Coupled with rising prices of food and gasoline, the cost of providing for newborns and infants is overwhelming for some.
Diocesan Catholic Athletes for Christ collect thousands of diapers for local aid agencies
To provide support for families with babies, Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) in the Diocese of Trenton conducted a diaper drive during Catholic Schools Week, held this year Jan. 29 - Feb. 4, where participating schools collected more than 15,000 diapers and additional related baby care items that were donated to local diaper banks and aid organizations.
As Dennis Guida, the CAC moderator for the Diocese, explained, “CAC conducted another successful diaper drive throughout the Diocese. This year our elementary schools were invited to partner with our high schools in the event and some schools accepted the invitation.”
Students from St. Rose High School and St. Rose Grammar school, Belmar, collected and donated nearly 4,500 diapers along with several hundred additional toiletries to the Madonna House of Neptune throughout the month of February. The Madonna House is dedicated to serving infants, children and women by providing clothing, juvenile furnishings, toys, infant formula, diapers, small household items and other necessities to families in need.
Fellow Monmouth County school, St. John Vianney, Holmdel, collected and delivered 943 diapers to both Catholic Charities, Red Bank, and Madonna House. Assisting the “cathletes” were students in the school’s Campus Ministry and service programs.
The collection in Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, was also a collective effort between the Catholic Athletes for Christ, the school’s Respect Life club, the Caseys4Life, and the Casey Campus Ministry. The three student organizations teamed together and hosted a school-wide “Baby Item Drive.”
Deacon Matt Nicosia from St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan, delivered the items to the Diaper Bank at Child Care Resources of Monmouth County.
He visited the school to discuss the mission of the Diaper Bank and how students’ charitable giving supports babies and moms in need. He expressed how important it is to “honor your legacy by supporting your community.” The RBC Caseys supported their community by collecting 4,826 diapers, 14,152 wipes and 47 baby toys. St. Mary School, Middletown, partnered with RBC during Catholic Schools Week in the collection of the items.
Deacon Nicosia also collaborated with the students at Christian Brothers Academy. Lincroft, where students collected over 1,200 diapers and made care packages that included baby wipes and formula.
CBA junior, Nick Ocone, who plays baseball for the school and is a member of the Catholic Athletes for Christ, was glad he had the opportunity to participate in the service-learning project at his school.
“Helping with the CAC diaper drive was very fulfilling as I was able to assist in the mission of helping those who are in need.”
And as Matt Butler, the co-moderator of CBA’s Catholic Athletes for Christ chapter acknowledged, “The need for assistance has been greater than previous years. These essential items are a must for mothers to take care of their children. CBA was proud to support this diocesan effort.”
Furthering that assistance was also Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River, where the Catholic athletes collected more than 1,700 diapers from the school community for Seeds of Service, Brick Township, and the Open Door Pregnancy Center, Toms River. Additional diapers were donated to the St. Joseph Parish Food Pantry, Toms River.
In Mercer County, the Catholic Athletes from Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, and the Celebrate Life Club partnered to collect almost 2,450 diapers through the donations of approximately 500 students. Diapers will be donated to Home Front and The Makers Place, organizations in Lawrenceville and Trenton respectively, that serve mothers and families in need.
Guida was proud of the schools’ participation in the service project that was instituted in the high schools by Dr. Vincent DePaul Schmidt, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, who started this drive during Catholic Schools Week. The Catholic Athletes have adopted this program as their own for the past two years.
“CAC moderators are always looking for projects that serve the school community or the greater community as a whole,” said Guida. “CAC has a very strong belief in servant leadership since charity is the first of our core virtues. Charity is the virtue of putting others before ourselves and this diaper drive allows us to put the needs of the mother and the newborn before our own.”