MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Kristen Grode’s idea for a diaper drive was in its infancy back in June. Since then, it’s grown faster than anyone could’ve predicted.
“It’s almost so big I can’t get my brain around it fully,” she said.
Last year, Grode found herself with a few dozen diapers her children had outgrown, collected some from friends and co-workers and dropped them off at a homeless shelter in Minneapolis.
“It could have just fizzled out right there. But because of the people who heard about it through you it just keeps going,” says Kristen.
Seven months and 109,000 diapers later, Kristen’s little idea has gone through quite a growth spurt. The working mother of two is now running a non-profit with 80 volunteers and a new office.
“You always get big ideas and think, that would be great, but this is actually happening,” said Grode.
Kingswood Church in Blaine is one of The Diaper Drive‘s regular stops. Their weekly food shelf serves up to 300 families. Pastor Cindy Hardy said many have one or both parents out of work.
“I had one woman in particular who comes and picks up diapers to give them to people that she knows that are in need, says they are using things like flour sacs right now to diaper their kids,” she said. “It’s either that or not feed them.”
Pastor Hardy says the donations do more than cover an expense for these parents.
“What Kristin does is give them back their dignity by allowing them to diaper their children with proper diapers.”
Now Grode is driving an effort to help even more people. This Saturday she’s hosting the biggest diaper drive in America at the Mall of America. The goal is to collect 200,000 diapers.
In other words, she wants to collect twice the donations she received over the last seven months in just eight hours. Lofty, yes, but for this humble mother who will proudly be on diaper duty as long as she can, it’s absolutely attainable.
“It’s not me at all. It’s the community. This is people. It’s charity, true charity,” said Grode.
The “biggest Diaper Drive in America” is this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The drop-off site is in the Best Buy Rotunda at the Mall of America.
WCCO-TV’s Holly Wagner Reports