By Holly Wagner, WCCO-TV

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

Comments (39)
  1. Crystal says:

    That is so mean and ignorant. Many parents who are struggling didn’t plan on losing their job, not having enough money or anything like that. A lot of parents are struggling due to the economy, and people who make uneducated judgments like the one above, should try taking a walk in our shoes.

    1. Jules says:

      Keep your condoms for your personal use PLEASE. You actually took time and energy to make yourself feel brilliant at the end of a sweet little story about baby diapers. Really?!!!! That’s what you got?

      1. Jules says:

        NOTE: Crystal and Jules comments are in response to Wenner or something’s comment to give the parents a condom instead. The loser comment appears to have been retracted.

  2. Holly says:

    How about cloth diapers, all those disposable diapers are going to go in the landfills.

    1. Kay says:

      my thoughts exactly

    2. DRE says:

      Some families can’t aford to wash them and take care of them.. There is a HOLE to fill and this org is doing an AMAZING JOB, maybe you should appreciate what is being done! If you think there needs to be a NEW org that gives out cloth diapers, you should look into it and start one!!!

  3. laura batt says:

    Why do you have to be so mean, you have no idea what these people’s situation is, this woman is doing something great why take that away with such a horrible comment. Obviously you have no children or never bought diapers they are expensive and not something you can go without! At one time my husband and I had 3 kids in diapers, we are down to one and will be having a diaper party once the last one is trained! We were lucky enough to be able to afford diapers for all 3, but it wasn’t easy. We have 5 children and both work full time and it is still a struggle but we don’t regret having any of our children and we thank God everyday that we have them in our lives!

  4. Jaylee says:

    I waited to have my child until I could afford him. I doubt the majority of the people using this service are struggling due to the economy. Also-that excuse is getting old. Obviously if you have spare diapers that your child has out grown laying around you would rather them be used then go to waste. I would likely give them to a friend or family member though. I myself would never go out and purchase a pack of diapers for this charity. I will help out by taking care of my child and not having to use a charity like this. Oh wait that is what I’m suppose to do.

    1. max says:

      Better take a quick peek in the mirror– your privilege and self-righteousness are showing, and it’s just embarrassing.

      1. Jaylee says:

        Wow-Did you even read what I wrote?? I’m in no way priviledged or self-righteous. I have worked FT since I was of age. I have never been without a job at times have had 2 or 3. The same goes for my husband. We struggle. I was taught that the world is a tough place. Everyone has a sob story but that it is my problem. I intend on teaching my children the same. It is time to be responsible for ourselves. I don’t feel bad for people that have to wrap their child in a flour sack for diapering. I feel bad for the child but shame on that parent for getting themselves into that situation.

    2. Jules says:

      Go get yoursself a crown! Surely such a perfect queen should wear one at all times so that we can all admire your greatness!

      1. Jaylee says:

        How are you getting perfect out of anything I have wrote. I’m hardly perfect. I love how people attack someone who works their butt off everyday to take care of their responsibilities. Maybe you should attack the people who whine about the economy and suck all the government resources thinking they are to good to take a less than glamourous job, I have and would do whatever it takes to take care of my child.

      2. Jennie says:

        Jaylee…I think it would be safe to say that you will never use this service or donate to it…but you contradict yourself in your comment that you work hard and will do “whatever” you have to in order to provide for your child…for some people that will mean utilizing this great organization! I detect a bit of hostility…could it be that you applied for services and were denied at some point??? Instead of putting down the generous, hard work of others….try keeping your strong opinions to yourself or find a cause that you believe in and see if you don’t feel good giving to someone else who is in need!!!!

      3. Beth E says:

        It doesn’t matter what you think about the PARENTS, BABIES shouldn’t be the ones to suffer. This is a very needed non-profit helping the children- keep it in perspective. Awesome job Kristen- excuse me- awesome hobby Kristen. Your UNPAID time, effort and dedication is MUCH appreciated!!!

        Lets show all of the negative people out there how much we support the Diaper Drive and donate this weekend!!!

    3. Sal says:

      good for you!
      No, we don’t need to help anyone in need.. good luck someday when you NEED it!! Maybe you need to humble yourself!

  5. MN Mom says:

    I used cloth diapers for both my children. Saving disposable for when we were away from home or traveling. Everyone wants to be green and organic,… I say go back to cloth diapers!

    1. M. E.H. says:

      I agree…cloth diapers worked for decades. Nothing wrong with a flour sack diaper if that’s all you have. They can be rewashed and reused. How about a DRIVE to donate flannel to MAKE diapers. Also would take care of a landfill problem.

      1. Unfortunately, most daycare facilities insist on disposable AND if you are not in a stable situation home wise finding even a sink where you can wash diapers by hand, never mind hang them up to dry, is pretty near to impossible to use cloth. I speak as someone who DID cloth diaper my child, I was lucky enough to have access to good laundry facilities, time and a partner that was able to help. Not all are so lucky.

    2. Kay says:

      I used cloth diapers as much as I could – until daycare…where disposables were required. I did switch to “g-diapers” – which are flushable – and day care was ok with those. But…I used the toilet to wash out the cloth diapers I used…not a sink.

  6. max says:

    Jaylee, the fact that you have never been unemployed gives you privilege. So does having a partner in raising your children. I’m not denying that you must be responsible and a hard worker. But because you assume that the majority of people who need help diapering their children are lazy and irresponsible, unlike you–that makes you self-righteous. I hope you teach your children all of your hard work ethic, and none of your lack of empathy. Meanwhile, thank you for inspiring me to pick up a pack of diapers for this drive.

    1. Jaylee says:

      You may spend your money on whatever you want. That is your choice. I just won’t be participating and that is my choice. It is okay Just a difference of opinion. My children will not be taken advantage of and will show empathy for people who deserve it.

      1. Max says:

        You’re right, clearly we have a pretty big difference of opinion. I hope for good health and stability for your family in 2011.

      2. mag says:

        Jaylee… Why do you even care to leave such a discusting note? move on.. the world needs people who love others and helps those in need.. move on! Have you even researched anything? I doubt it..
        You have NO clue what is going on and how much Kristen and other care for and help others! if you did, you would KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! What an amazing org and thank you to all who help out and donate!!!! A lot of diapers get donated to Woman’s abuse shelters who can now spend money in other places to help with education or buying food!!!! You have NO CLUE and I can tell by your rude remarks and unfounded hate!
        Research things more before you make comments that make you look terrible!

  7. laura batt says:

    Jaylee I say count your blessings that you are able to “afford” your child and you aren’t in these people’s shoes, I am the last one to give a hand out to someone because they are lazy or don’t want to work but every person is different and you have no right to judge these people when you don’t even know who they are, my husband and I work very hard to provide a roof, food and what not for our kids but sometimes all people need in life is a little help to get through the bumps in the road. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, life is an unexpected adventure so be glad it isn’t you using a flour sack for a diaper!

  8. Bert says:

    I agree with MN Mom. Cloth diapers worked for both of my children. My day care provider didn’t even mind them. She would put them in a plastic bag (after rinsing the dirty ones). I simply took them home and washed them. Seems to me that the more you give to people, the more they expect.

  9. Fay says:


    I was diagnosed unexpectedly with a crippling illness that left me hospitalized for over 6 months. I had many major surgeries and almost didn’t live. I finally was able to return home with nursing aid staff to help me. I had four young children at the time. I have no living family on my side. My husband left the kids and I while I was in the hospital. The stress and trauma of it all just collapsed him, I think. A charity like this would have been a god-send to me! You call this a “sob-story” yet it is my real life experience. I pray that you never have to go through what I did. I wonder if you will have the courage to reply to this. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Jaylee says:

      I do have the courage to respond to this. No need to pray for us my family has had our own tragedies. My husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I have a chronic disease and I have been hospitalized countless times for long periods. It sucks. My thoughts are it would be great if the charity only went to people in your scenario that are dealt a hand that is out of their control. Alot of these systems are abused by people you are naive to think they are not.

      1. Amanda says:

        AGAIN, I know you have not done your research!!! this is untrue!!! I help out with The Diaper Drive and you are wrong! I see it fist hand! And yes, you have such courage because you are hiding behind a computer.. Courage is ASKING for help, Courage is HELPING OTHERS EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE PEOPLE OUT THAT THAT NOCK YOU DOWN EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE (HINT HINT)..
        I have a GREAT idea, why don’t you donate your time so you don’t have to help out with diapers or money and SEE what they are REALLY doing instead of what you THINK is going on.. I KNOW you will be a different person after!!! TRY IT, have the COURAGE to!!!

  10. Fay says:

    Looks like someone named Robbie posted (in reply to my comment) and then deleted his post. Interesting….

    1. Robbi says:

      WCCO deleted my posting not me..interesting is right!

  11. Linda says:

    I say good Kristen Grode for trying to help people who need it. But, I also say people should be encouraged to use cloth diapers first and use the papers ones only when that is the only choice. A couple dozen cloth diapers can be used for years, with several children and are much, much, much less costly (in fact, there is no comparison) plus they do not pile up in landfills that are already bursting with this stuff.

    When are the citizens of this country going to learn that we cannot continue in the manner we are – recklessly using resources and polluting our Earth as if we have forever to do so – there are only so much land/resources. I’m sure those people using hundreds of diapers for their babies/toddlers each year would not want a landfill close to their neighborhood!!

  12. Mnmommy says:

    I think this is a great story and I’m happy that people are willing to volunteer for something like this. To me, there is not difference between donating diaper or donating food, either way you are helping out people a litte less fortunate than you. I struggle every month but I do everything I can to survive and to help others survive. Besides, this story hits home because I’m pregnant and I thank generous people that IF something happens and I need help it will be there.

  13. Amanda says:

    Kudos to Kristen for seeing an opportunity to help others and committing to it. I’ll be attending on Sat and wish the organization all the best as it continues to grow and serve our community.

  14. Jennie says:

    I couldn’t agree more..Kudos to Kristen! Maybe some of the above comments could be kept to yourself!!! To those of you with negative comments regarding the inability and laziness of parents to provide for their children…lets stop and think about this…the diapers are for the children…not the parents!! Whatever the circumstance, it is proven that a child’s development can be delayed if not in a clean diaper… so instead of blaming the parents or thinking they are taking advantage of the system… lets think about our future…the children!!! If Kristen Grode’s The Diaper Drive can provide unused outgrown diapers for children that NEED them then I say again…KUDOS to KRISTEN!!!! KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK AND DISREGARD THE NEGATIVE NANCY’S OF THIS WORLD!! People DONATE to many different causes…save the whales, save the planet, etc …. why not a few diapers to save our children!!!

  15. kelley says:

    Kristin I applaud you!!!

    And 1 word!!!! KARMA… some day all the negative people MAY need your service or one similar… and keep up the excellent work!!!

    I will get you my diaper donation…

  16. Katie says:

    Kristen you are doing a great job. Trust me I appreciate the diapers that we get. And no I am not someone who lives to abuse charities. I am a stay at home mom of three because I can’t afford daycare.

    As it says in Duet. 15:11

    11There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

    You are truly doing God’s work with what you are doing. Don’t let anything anyone says bother you.

  17. MateoSD says:

    I would like to thank all of the ignorant people out there for giving me a good laugh today. How can you take a cute story like this about an organization who is HELPING PEOPLE and turn it into an opportunity to get on a soap box and preach about your narrow inexperienced tiny little world views? This isn’t about population control, this isn’t about welfare abuse, this isn’t even about the environment… It’s about people helping people and taking the time out of their busy lives to make a difference. I wish more people, including myself, were willing to give that kind of time and energy to the greater good. Kudos Diaper Drive. Keep it up!

    1. jennie says:

      Well said MateoSD… !!!!!!

    2. Beth B says:

      Good last word MateoSD!!

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