Group making diapers for Haitian babies

Friday, January 29, 2010
Volunteers from First Christian Church of Brazil work diligently to finish the last of the cloth diapers to be sent to Haiti. Volunteers included (left) Leah Schuch, Karyn Scott, Mary Jo Alumbaugh, Linda King, Judy Haase, Carol Scott and Lydia Stallcop. Kimberly Gleason Photo.

A few times a year, the noise of sewing machines at work can be heard floating down the halls at First Christian Church. For the last eight years, volunteers have come together for four nights with a goal in mind -- to give back to those who are in need.

The "Diapers for Haiti" ministry was first put into motion when Leah Schuch attended the National Missionary Convention in 2000.

"It was explained that you don't have to travel to Haiti to help them meet their needs," she said. "You can accomplish as much right here in the states."

Funded entirely from "Dimes for Diapers," the ministry has been providing hand-made cloth diapers to a birthing center in Haiti.

"We ask people to save their dimes and put them into a small container we provide," she said. "When the can is full, they are turned into the church. We use those funds to purchase the materials."

The diapers are made from flannel, washcloths and elastic. The volunteers split the work, each station or machine doing something different.

Volunteers who do not know how to sew are still necessary, they cut loose strings, turn the diapers inside out and make sure the corners are correct.

Once the process is complete, the diapers are then sent to the mission's headquarters in Kentucky and then shipped to the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission in Saint Louis du Nord, Haiti.

The diapers are then used at the birthing center where Haitian women are provided free medical services.

"If not for the birthing center then 50 percent of the babies and many of the mothers would die during childbirth," Schuch said. "The center greatly increases their chance of survival."

Schuch believes volunteers have logged approximately 1,167 hours making diapers with each diaper costing approximately $1.

"We haven't kept an accurate account of how many diapers we have made over the years, but a good estimate would be approximately 3,500," she said. "It's a labor of love."

The continued devotion by Schuch and the volunteers have not gone unnoticed.

"They don't do it to gain praise for themselves," senior pastor Bob Witte said in a press release. "The motto of our church is 'Show love and share Christ' and that is exactly what this ministry does. They are providing diapers to help babies and mothers they will likely never meet. It is a totally unselfish act."

For more information contact the church at 446-2214.

Collecting supplies

Due to the devastation of the Haiti earthquake, First Christian Church of Brazil will be collecting medical supplies, medicines, linens, basic hygiene items, tools and equipment from Feb. 7-March 20, which will be delivered to Fellowship of Associates of Medical Evangelism (F.A.M.E.) in Indianapolis, who will then deliver it to the appropriate locations in Haiti.

For more information and a more specific list of items call 446-2214.

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