Each year ABW hosts 3 promotional events with charitable components to give back to the community that has helped grow our organization over the years. One of these events, Kelly’s Cookie Challenge, had its 4th annual competition on April 1st of 2017. The winning team, lead by Debbi Yaffe, made an amazing root beer float sandwich cookie that had all of the judges singing their praises, not just for how delicious the cookie was, but the creative flavors and presentation. Due to a large influx of babies being born to ABW staff, Debbi decided the charity her team would represent would be the D.C. Diaper Bank (http://www.dcdiaperbank.org/about/) a local organization whose mission is to not only provide diapers and supplies using partner groups to distribute to the neediest families, but also give those families the ability to put money back in their pockets by not having to purchase these supplies and raise awareness about poverty on a local level.
After spending a little time with founder Corinne Cannon yesterday, as she passionately went over their operations as well as their goals, we were amazed at the towers of not only diapers in their warehouse, but formula, feminine hygiene products, baby seats, and baby food. If it has to do with a baby or a mother they have it. Corinne and her team utilize resources such as FEMA to help fill their shelves with items that would otherwise be disposed of, and get out to families to be able to use prior to expiring. An impressive U-shaped warehouse allows for donations to come in on one side, and go out on the other, with volunteers rolling and taping packs of diapers to be distributed. Each family will receive 50 diapers a month, which on average is a third of what a baby will use a month. Corinne pointed out, as is a part of their mission, that this doesn’t JUST give the families diapers, it keeps more money in their pockets. Most families in need do not have the luxury of ordering from Amazon or driving to Walmart, but rather walk to the corner store where products are far more expensive than normally would be. The money this represents could be bus fare for someone to get to work for a week or go to a doctor’s appointment—essential duties that the rest of us take for granted.
From the moment you walk into this organization, you notice a big difference in their set up and work areas—it’s humble and hot—there are kids and babies around as well as toys and changing stations, because part of their volunteer program is family friendly and they encourage their volunteers to bring in their children. Even in the heat, everyone I passed gave me a genuine smile and hello, and it’s clear to see the love and commitment they all have for this cause. The check we delivered, for $10,327.25 can be used to stretch far, as DCDB can buy products wholesale from brands, allowing for purchasing of 2-3 times the amount for the same price, and Corinne did not hide her excitement at the prospect of putting it to good use.
After we left, still talking about how impressed we were with the reach and dedication of this group, someone said “You know, it’s great to donate to cancer causes, research—they are all very worthy, but to be able to give to an organization where you can literally see what it will bring them, and what type of impact it can make, and know that you are having a positive impact on your community, well that is priceless.”
Thank you, Corinne, not just for welcoming us into your beautiful dream of building A Better World, but for infecting all of us with your warmth and your cause, and thank you to everyone who helped make Kelly’s Cookie Challenge such a success allowing us to make this donation!