Disposable diapers are No. 1 on the list for the most-needed item in women's domestic abuse shelters, but no one knows about it, said Park City resident Shannon Buist.
"What has been happening with low-income families or mothers who are staying in these shelters is that they have just a small amount of money," Buist said during an interview with The Park Record. "They have to choose between buying medicine, food and clothing for their children, and diapers are always last on the list."
So, Buist decided to do something about it and formed Dry Baby Bums, a nonprofit organization that buys and collects diapers, wipes and rash cream for local shelters.
Dry Baby Bums will host a Bowl for Diapers, a diaper drive and fundraiser at Jupiter Bowl at Kimball Junction, on Wednesday, May 7, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Admission is $10 for adults, and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. Kids under the age of 3 will be admitted by free.
All the proceeds will buy diapers for Peace House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping family violence and abuse in Summit and Wasatch counties, Buist said.
"They told us they really need diapers, sizes three and up," she said. "It would be great if they didn't have to worry about their supply for awhile."
Everyone is encouraged to bring donations of disposable diapers.
"For every pack of diapers, donors will get five opportunity drawing tickets for a chance to win prizes from Skullcandy, Backcountry.com and Lunatic Fringe, who have all been great at donating items," Buist said. "We'll also have a woman, Stephanie Ritchie, who will donate one of her pieces of jewelry to the prizes."
Other items were donated by Stella Mael, Baby Needee, the Mine, Monkey Mountain, Labelle Nails, The Sweat Shop, Jamberry Nails' Mandy Demmert, Maxfield Candy and PC Print Inc.
Also, if people don't bring diapers and just pay the entrance fee, Buist will have her iPad up and running so people can purchase diapers that way and be put into the drawing as well.
"People have been so generous," Buist said. "I thought the hard part would be asking people for donations for the drawing because I'm fairly new to the community. But it's been the easiest part."
Buist, who moved to Park City from Southern California with her husband last July, is also thankful to Jupiter Bowl for donating space for the two-hour fundraiser.
"They are closing down just for the event, so we'll have all 12 lanes and access to the billiard tables all to ourselves," she said. "We'll have the railings up so kids won't roll gutter balls, and we'll also have a balloon artist, so those kids who are waiting to bowl will get free balloons."
The seed of Dry Baby Bums was planted last December when Buist went to the YWCA in Salt Lake City to donate unused baby products.
"Right before I left, I asked if there was anything they really needed and they told me they desperately needed diapers," she said. "That night I talked with my husband and said we should talk to our friends up here to see if we can do something four times a year."
The goal is that everyone would give $400 each and they would go to Costco and buy a whole bunch of diapers and deliver them to shelters.
"As I started researching this, I found out about the diaper gap," Buist said.
The crisis is a fundamental problem for many mothers.
"Unfortunately, these babies are stuck in these wet and dirty diapers, which leads to rashes, diseases and unhappy babies," Buist said. "It's a vicious cycle because when the babies cry, the mothers feel more stress and that becomes a cause for child abuse.
"Also, people can't buy diapers with food stamps," she said. "In fact, [diapers] are put in the same category as alcohol, cigarettes and pet food, which, in this day and age, is ridiculous."
There are some people who have approached Buist and asked why she doesn't ask for cloth-diaper donations.
"They tell me that disposable diapers aren't environmentally friendly and that people can reuse cloth," she said. "The reason we don't accept cloth is that most daycares don't accept infants and toddlers in cloth diapers. So mothers can't drop off their babies at daycare to go to work. So it's another cycle they can't get out of."
Also, laundromats, which most of these mothers have to use, don't allow people to wash cloth diapers in their machines.
"This should not be happening, especially in Park City and Salt Lake where there are so many families and so many babies," Buist said. "So I decided I wanted do something on a larger scale and try to get everyone in Park City involved, because the residents here are so community oriented. And that's how Dry Baby Bums was started."
Dry Baby Bums will host Bowl for Diapers at Jupiter Bowl, 1090 Center Dr. at Kimball Junction, on Wednesday, May 7, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. Advance tickets can be purchased by calling Shannon Buist at 949-616-5051. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. For more information, visit www.drybabybums.org .