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Love a little

Jewell woman begins diaper drive for those in need

It’s been a tough six months with the COVID-19 pandemic, severe weather and all of the related challenges for Iowa families. Many area families are struggling to pay utilities, bills, rent and mortgages, all while trying to put food on the table.

A Jewell woman has started a program to that she hopes will help meet the needs of some Hamilton County’s littlest residents.

Love a Little, Keep ‘Em Clean and Dry is a new diaper and baby necessity drive that Jamie Nielsen is spearheading.

“About 30 percent of the population struggles with diaper insecurity and it’s a very hushed topic,” according to Nielsen. She hopes to provide a resource to families who can’t afford to purchase diapers for their little ones.

She understands the difficulties those families are experiencing. She and husband, Paul, have twin sons, Paxton and Wyatt, born just a year ago. It was a difficult pregnancy for Nielsen. She spent weeks on bed rest and the twins were delivered by emergency c-section at 28 weeks. The two boys weighed 2 lbs. 10 oz. and 2 lbs. 12 oz. The babies then spent 76 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at Blank Children’s Hospital. Both were on breathing support for most of their time there.

“We’re thankful we are all here and everybody is doing really well,” she said. But the medical expenses and travel costs took their toll on the young family.

“Finances were just a mess and life kept happening to us over and over again and it was hitting us right in the wallet,” she said. Thanks to help from their church, neighbors and others, they were able to make it through the challenging time. But she learned there was no place to turn in Hamilton County for diapering.

“Social services can help you with housing, you can get clothing from churches and food help from local pantries – there’s all these resources, except for this need,” she said.

As the Nielsens were looking at ways to give back to the community that had helped and supported them, she said they wanted to direct their efforts toward little ones.

“Keeping children clean and dry is one of the most basic function of parenting and we want to help with that,” Nielsen said.

The program, which begins Sept. 1, seeks to collect diapers of all sizes, baby wipes (the sensitive variety preferred), diaper rash creams, baby shampoo and baby wash. Those who wish to donate diapers or other supplies can drop them off at the Webster City Hy-Vee Store, Jewell Farm and Home or the Jewell Market

Nielsen said those who wish to make a monetary contribution to the project can do so with Amazon or Walmart gift cards which will be used to purchase additional supplies. The cards can be sent to Love a Little, General Delivery, Jewell, Iowa 50130. She hopes to begin distributing the items in October.

Those looking for help with baby needs can turn to the HOPES program through Hamilton County Public Health or through Upper Des Moines Opportunity in Webster City.

“Diapers and wipes can be so expensive,” she said. “As the parent of twins, I’m very keenly away of the cost of diapering.”

Nielsen said studies have shown the average cost of diapers is about $100 per month per child.

“Thinking about those families that have two or three children in diapers – that really adds up fast,” she said. Add on the wipes, diaper cream and other necessities, and the cost can stack up quickly.

The goal for the Love a Little, Keep ‘Em Clean and Dry program is to collect 15,000 diapers, 15,000 wipes, 500 diaper creams and 500 bottles of shampoo and body wash.

“We want to make sure that anybody who is having a struggle to provide these basic needs for their kids, that they’ve got somewhere to turn,” she said.

“And I really would like to see this goal blown out of the water,” Nielsen said. “I know we have a really tight-knit community that comes together when there is a need, especially when it comes to littles.”

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