Pitts: Diaper donation a blessing for soldiers

Fort Bragg | Fayetteville Observer | July 17th

Quadruplets Lilly, Emma, Nicholas Jr. and Ethan celebrated their first birthday on Sunday.

But today, it will be their soldier parents who will receive a nice gift.

Sgt. Athena Rose, who is married to Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Rose, said her family will be among the 250 scheduled to receive Huggies diapers as part of the company’s nationwide “Camo for a Cause” campaign.

The diapers could hardly be a bigger blessing for the Roses.

Athena Rose said the quads go through half a box of diapers a day – 40 or 50. Monthly expenses for diapers, formula and other baby needs exceed $1,000, all of which the Roses pay out of their pocket, since they make too much to qualify for federal assistance.

Athena Rose’s mother baby-sits during the day while Athena and Nicholas are at work. But raising four 1-year-olds still presents challenges.

The biggest challenge?

“Definitely, the financial aspect,” Athena Rose said.

The Huggies diapers will be distributed only to families with vouchers starting at 9 a.m. in Pope Air Field’s Hangar No. 4.

Lynne Grates, director of the Fort Bragg/Camp Lejeune Branch of the Armed Services YMCA, said the organization received 8,000 boxes, valued at $431,000. Nationally, Huggies will distribute 4 million diapers at military installations as part of Camo for a Cause.

At Fort Bragg, the diaper distribution is for junior service members. The donated goods are the Little Movers Camo diapers, which are decorated to look like camouflage, in sizes 3, 4 and 5.

They arrived on Fort Bragg in June, traveling aboard three 18-wheelers.

Grates said parents who pick up diapers today must have vouchers, which would have been issued July 10. She said there will probably be diapers left over and Armed Services YMCA could do another distribution, to be announced later.

She said the voucher system was implemented so Fort Bragg could be good stewards of the Huggies donation, and also to avoid traffic jams and other problems like those encountered a few years ago when during a toiletries distribution conducted by Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Grates said new mothers, E-4 and below, who give birth at Womack Army Medical Center could receive “baby bundles” every day through Armed Services YMCA. These include diapers, “onesies,” a sleeper, a receiving blanket and other items.

As for the Huggies, Grates marvels at the variety and sizes of diapers these days.

She said she remembers when they were “one size fits all.”

She said the distribution is a good thing, and thanked Huggies for it. Her children are adults now, but she gave birth to four children in seven years and knows how much diapers can cost. The brand involved might run $45 to $60 per box, she said.

She also said most families who signed up have more than one child, and several have multiples. She noted Sgt. Rose’s quads, another mom with triplets and said, “We have a bunch of twins.”

Columnist Myron B. Pitts can be reached at pittsm@fayobserver.com