Skip to content

Grassroots relief project helps parents in need access diapers

The Guelph Diaper Relief Project was launched by a Guelph mom in October as a way for parents to access free diapers when they’re in a pinch

Two Guelph women are helping parents in need access diapers when they’re in a pinch. 

Lyndsay Smuck launched the Guelph Diaper Relief Project in October as a way to give back to the community. 

“I gave birth to my son in the middle of the pandemic, and my husband had lost his job. We went through a really tough time and the community had helped us out so much, I just wanted to give something back,” Smuck told GuelphToday. 

The project initially started out as a Facebook exchange group for moms about a year ago when Smuck was looking for ways to give back without having to leave  home. 

Working opposite shifts as her partner with no daycare, she's home most days with her son and can't just go out to volunteer. So she launched a page dedicated for parents to buy, sell, trade or offer free diapers and other child-related items at reasonable prices. 

“And I finally just put it together – why don't I just have a place where people can get rid of diapers they don't want (to help people in need). And then it blew up overnight,” she said. 

Now, she has a ceiling-high stack of collected donations in her home office and a covered donation bin outside. When someone reaches out for donations, she grabs the size they need from the stack, and leaves the package in the donation bin outside for them to easily and anonymously access. 

Diapers are expensive, she said, and certain sizes are hard to come by. 

“I know many times I’d be two days before payday and I’m down to my last two diapers, I can’t go buy a $40 box of diapers just to get me through those two days,” she said. “So something like this when I was in those situations would have been super helpful, because you can’t really be without diapers on a child who isn’t potty trained.”

Not long after launching the diaper relief cupboard, Smuck brought Haley Chapman on board to help parents in the south end. 

“I live so far up here that for people in the sound end, it takes like 20, 25 minutes to get up here. So I reached out asking for someone either in the south or west end, and Haley very promptly offered to help,” she said. 

Chapman said she joined the project simply because she likes helping people and has the time. She uses the same bin system Smuck does for anonymous drop offs and pickups, and will drive around to pick up donations as well. 

“She’s been a great asset,” Smuck said. 

When someone reaches out for help, they leave donations in the bin most convenient for the person to access. The donations are packages of 12 or 18 diapers depending on the size, “because babies go through a lot more than, say, a toddler.” 

There was a third person involved who had to take a step back, but they’re hoping to launch a third donation bin in the west end soon with a new volunteer. 

Since starting the project in October, Smuck said they’ve helped around 60 to 70 people, a number she expects – and hopes – will continue to grow. 

“People just reach out to us whenever they’re in need, and we’ll just (give it to them). No questions asked. We try very hard to keep everybody anonymous because it's very hard to ask for help,” she said. “I think that's what's so cool about this program, that moms don't have to go on Facebook groups or whatever in search of diapers, because that's a hard thing to do as a mom sometimes.”

They said people have been expressing their gratitude for the project, and wish it existed sooner. 

“They’re just very appreciative of it,” she said. 

The Facebook page, which currently has more than 270 members, still acts as an exchange group, but parents can use the page to contact Smuck or Chapman – anonymously, if needed – to access free diapers or drop off donations. Donations can also be ordered off Amazon, where they have a wishlist of current needs. 

“Our main goal is to help people. I just want people to know that we're here, and we don't ask any questions. Everybody's situation is different. Everybody’s welcome,” Smuck said. 


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Taylor Pace

About the Author: Taylor Pace

Read more