Diaper drive for veteran families struggling with mental health issues

Posted at 10:44 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 23:44:40-04
Bloodshed on the battlefield. Many military members fear they won't make it home alive, and when they do, some end up fighting a different enemy.

"They've turned to drugs and alcohol as kind of a coping skill to numb the pain, to sleep at night," explains Scott Granger, AODA Outreach Director at the Center for Suicide Awareness.

Many veterans say a delay in services can make their post traumatic stress disorder even worse.
"The services are there, sometimes unfortunately the paperwork to get them where they need to be is what's difficult," Granger says.
That's where the Center for Suicide Awareness in Kaukauna steps in.
"Sometimes they actually do think suicide is an option, and so we sort of try to fill in and say you have a purpose and we need you here," says Executive Director Barb Bigalke.
Bigalke and her staff help veterans navigate the system and connect them with resources in the community like Jake's Diapers, which this month is providing free cloth diapers to veteran families in need.
"A lot of times they're having to choose between basic needs like diapers or taking care of their own mental health needs, and we don't want to make them have to have those kinds of choices," Bigalke says.
Jake's Diapers originally began supplying cloth diapers to poverty-stricken orphanages in other countries, but with one-in-three families experiencing diaper need in the U.S., Co-Founder Stephanie Bowers feels compelled to help people in our own backyard.
"It breaks my heart that these veterans have risked their lives to defend our freedom, and they're suffering. What do you do? So how can we help lift up one another?"
The Dairyland Diaper Drive will help 40 veteran families in Northeast Wisconsin. The recipients are chosen by the Center for Suicide Awareness.
"For $231, we can completely diaper a baby from birth to potty training, and compared to disposables that's about $2,000, so it's a huge cost savings, plus all the environmental benefits as well," explains Bowers.
Both organizations are encouraging community members to donate money or cloth diapers to the drive, so our hometown heroes have one less worry as they try to rebuild their lives.
"It's very rewarding to see the immediate results, the relief in their eyes," Granger explains.
The Dairyland Diaper Drive runs through June 30th. 
Click here for a list of diaper drop-off locations or to make a monetary donation.