OLEAN, NY – The Parent Education Program of Olean seeks donations for its first-ever diaper drive now through March 1.
Diapers, pull-ups and baby wipes will be accepted Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. in the program offices at 234 N. Union St. Donations will benefit low-income families in Cattaraugus and Allegany County, said Chrissy Ahearn, director of program services.
"The families we encounter and work with often go without medication or buying enough food for the house because of the exorbitant cost of diapers and baby supplies," Ahearn said. "Most care places will not accept cloth diapers, so families have to provide disposables."
Ahearn noted that the high costs of diaper products sometimes contribute to health risks for babies.
"It's something that we see a lot of," Ahearn said. "A baby's health is at risk because a family doesn't have enough diapers and tries to ration them."
Babies who sit in soiled diapers are exposed to a number of potential dangers, including rashes, sores and infection.
With expensive necessities in such high demand, Ahearn is calling on the local community for help.
"This is our first time trying to supplement our own supplies," Ahearn said. "We are a nonprofit with very limited funds that we can spend per family, and this is one of the things we use the funding for. We thought, 'Why don't we try to get the community involved so that it takes the burden of the expense off of us and we can use our funds to help families in other ways?' "
Ahearn hopes the community will come out and support the cause.
"We hope the community would come together," Ahearn said. "We hope they help us achieve our goal, which is to provide much-needed items to low-income families."
The Parent Education Program, which strives to strengthen families, offers counseling services, skill-building programs and other supportive services for families in need. Those seeking more information about the program or wanting to donate after hours should call 716-372-8624.