GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Families in nine counties across West Michigan will have an opportunity to get free diapers thanks to the launch of a new mobile diaper pantry. 

Catholic Charities West Michigan received a grant from the Michigan Diaper Assistance Program, which has allowed them to give out more than 1,100 boxes of diapers to community members since January. 

“We’re not giving out like 20 diapers; we’re giving out like 200 diapers at a time. So in that situation, we’re just met with so much excitement, appreciation,” said Stephanie Busch, pregnancy and baby services supervisor for CCWM. 

The agency has two physical pantries in Muskegon and Grand Rapids that are stocked with diapers, wipes, formula, clothing and other everyday essentials. Busch, however, said staff realized it can be difficult for some people to travel to the pantries. So in January, they loaded up a van and started going to churches, Head Start centers, and other organizations throughout nine counties. They also coordinate with Feeding America West MI so that people can pick up food and diapers in one trip. 

The following are the dates and locations for the mobile diaper pantries in April:

  • April 19: 3 p.m. at St. Gregory Bread of Life Parish, Hart, MI
  • April 26: 10 a.m. at TrueNorth Community Services, Fremont, MI
  • April 26: 3:30 p.m. at Hope Head Start, Holland, MI
  • April 27: 2:20 p.m. at St. Joseph Food Pantry, Belding, MI

As the costs of everyday essentials rise, Busch said this has been an incredible resource for families in need. 

“With food assistance and other assistance programs that you can get, diapers and wipes and creams are never included in any of the things that people can get,” Busch said. “It’s something that they really have to come with out of pocket, so when money is tight, this is somewhere that can definitely be a struggle and a case of diapers can be almost $40.”

The mobile pantry is set to run through at least September. You can find the most up-to-date information on locations and times on the agency’s website and Facebook page.

CCWM continues to offer diapers, wipes, formula, clothing, and other items at its stationary pantries. The agency is currently in the process of renovating a building in Grand Rapids’ Creston Heights neighborhood which will allow them to expand from their current space in the basement of God’s Kitchen. 

“We really wanted to expand to being able to offer a lot more space, a lot more items, classes like we do in Muskegon… being able to offer that really in a community setting,” Busch explained. 

In addition to the two physical pantries, Busch said the goal is to eventually purchase a full-size mobile pantry to offer even more items for families all across West Michigan. 

You can find more information on CCWM and its resources here