Why would an American Baptist church care about diapers? Just ask the folks at First Baptist in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
During First Baptist’s Missional Church Learning Experience with Glynis LaBarre of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, they became aware that diapers are one of the items which food stamps do not cover. Yet clean diapers are essential to the health of babies. Through training, prayer and discussion, First Baptist concluded that their mission would be to meet this urgent need in their community. Thus the Diaper Depot was born.
On the fourth Saturday of every month, parents are invited to come receive a packet of diapers at the church. Aided by an award from the ABCUSA Matthew 25 Grant (see below), this ministry has helped hundreds of families since its beginning in June 2012.
The ministry has grown as others have seen its importance. The local Gideons are supplying Christian tracts, and other churches and a retired missionary are providing Bibles in English and Spanish. Local grocery stores have donated food to be given out along with the diapers, and community members are contributing diapers and money to help support the program. Gently used clothing and general household items are also being donated by church members and others to be shared with these neighbors in need. Yet the heart of the ministry remains the opportunity to share Jesus Christ and his love through a simple bag of diapers.
This ministry has been used as a way to partner with other local churches, groups and organizations that before never would have worked together. The church takes referrals from these groups as well as the local hospital and their OB and peds units and their social workers.
Best of all, the church has been able to form meaningful relationships with these neighbors through the outreach, involving them in other ministries at the church including Vacation Bible School, Operation Christmas Child and more. Through loving and encouraging these families, the church is serving as the hands and feet of Christ and opening the door to a meaningful relationship with Him.
The Matthew 25 Grant, sponsored by ABCUSA, is funded by a generous donor whose goal is to help meet the needs of “housing, feeding, education and health with regard to the less fortunate.” Ministries must be in relationship with American Baptist Churches to be eligible to apply. Awards for the Matthew 25 grant are made twice a year, in April and October, with application deadlines of March 1 and September 1. To view the guidelines and download the application form, click here.