This year, KJFS became the first National Diaper Bank Network participant in Maine; through the purchasing power of the network, we are now able to access diapers and wipes for significantly less than retail price. With the support of many donors and a generous grant from the Fruhman Family Foundation, this year we will distribute over 50,000 diapers. Unfortunately, diaper need is a significant issue in Southern Maine, with many families facing the heartbreaking challenge of deciding between buying diapers, food, or paying rent each month. We offer diapers to families who visit our food pantry, and we also distribute diapers to 5 partnering local pantries. KJFS now also distributes menstrual hygiene products and adult incontinence products.
Diaper Need Awareness Week
National Diaper Need Awareness Week falls on September 25 – October 2. Mayor Ethan Strimling signed a proclamation recognizing the week and Governor Paul Lepage wrote a letter in support of the works of diaper banks across Maine.
KJFS, in partnership with Two Men & A Truck Moving Company, hosted its First Annual Stuff-A-Truck event to kick-off the week and, thanks to the generosity of the greater Portland community, was able to fill a truck with over 5,000 diapers.
Greenlight Studio hosted a Play-for-a-Cause playdate, in conjunction with PJ Library and local business throughout the community held separate diaper drives during the week.
KJFS Teams Up with the NCJW to Meet the Needs of Low-Income Menstruators
KJFS has worked hard to evolve programs based on the needs of the community. For many of the women who visit the KJFS Food Pantry, there has been an increased request for menstrual hygiene products (pads, tampons, etc.). KJFS Student Intern, Morgan Dickey, began to reach out to organizations across the country to find access to reasonably priced products and developed a partnership with Period. The Menstrual Movement in Portland, Oregon. Period. The Menstrual Movement mission is to manage and celebrate menstrual hygiene through advocacy, education, and service-- through the global distribution of feminine hygiene product care packages to women in need, and the engagement of youth leadership with our nationwide network of campus chapters. KJFS received its first shipment of products in November and distributed packages to 150 women. As the program grows and requests increase, KJFS is thrilled to partner with the Maine Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) to consistently have product on its shelves! NCJW’s generous support will provide KJFS the capacity to continue to distribute menstrual hygiene products to over 100 women per month for the next year!