Playpens will be set up at several Ellsworth businesses in March, collecting diapers for Downeast Community Partners.

Any parent will tell you that one of the most expensive parts of having small children is the cost of diapers. It's expensive keeping your kids clean and dry. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, diapers can cost between $70 and $80 a month for a single child. And, if you're like I was when I was having kids, you're outfitting a couple of kids at a time. That adds up fast!

The majority of kids, these days, are in daycare where their parents are required to send the children in with a full day's worth of diapers. And, if those parents are running short, they won't allow the child to attend until they can fulfill the requirement. That means lost wages for parents who can ill-afford it. Then there's the health aspect of diapers. Going too long between changes can result in diaper rash and other medical problems for the child. And a fussy, crying baby can test the patience and sanity of even the most level-headed parent.

So the folks at Downeast Community Partners decided to create the 'Fill-a-Bus Diaper Drive,' to help out some of the parents in need. They're going to place Pack 'n Play playpens in several Ellsworth area businesses, where folks can drop off their donations of diapers. Throughout the month of March, the playpens will be found at:

  • The Community Closet on Downeast Highway
  • Hannaford
  • Shaw's
  • Marden's
  • Downeast Community Partners office, 248 Bucksport Road

At some point during the month, organizers are planning to actually place a bus in a parking lot and invite folks to stop by and donate, so they can 'Fill the Bus' with diapers. Those plans are not yet completed. But, when they are, the information will be posted on the Downeast Community Partners' website and on their Facebook page.

The diapers that are collected by the drive will then be donated to Hills House, the Emmaus Center, Early Head Start, WIC, Maine Families, and local food pantries.