You may have noticed a new occupant in the former Habitat ReStore space at 303 W 79th St. It’s not a business that is open to the public, however it does provide an important community service. Happy Bottoms is a diaper bank, getting families in need diapers through several social service agencies in the six county area.
Current Executive Director Jill Gaikowski is the founder of Happy Bottoms. In the fall of 2009, a friend alerted her to the urgent need for donated diapers to help families in the area. Jill started a diaper drive and eventually collected 16,636 diapers, stacking up in her basement! Having found her calling, she opened a non profit organization dedicated to collecting and distributing diapers to those in need. The original warehouse location was in Lenexa; Happy Bottoms recently moved to the Waldo location for more space. Currently they are renting the building but hope to purchase it at some point.
Business & Communications Manager Beth Canipe explained how the non profit works: the diapers are acquired through purchases (at reduced rates) and donations. The diapers are distributed through 37 area social service agencies (government programs such as WIC and SNAP do not allow diapers to be purchased under federal programs). Those families who qualify can get 50 diapers per month. Happy Bottoms also provides potty training education for parents and potty training kits.
As with most non profit programs, volunteers are always welcome! You can volunteer to help as an individual or through a “corporate engagement” program—Happy Bottoms will come to your office and set up wrapping stations to bundle up the diapers for distribution. Monetary donations are always needed. I especially like the suggestion of donating to Happy Bottoms in honor of Mother’s Day coming up this weekend!
Find out more information on Happy Bottoms and how to donate or volunteer at their website.