about operation baby new year
NEWS and MEDIA
Operation Baby New Year, GSCDC I-Award 2016 (VIDEO)
"Diaper Drive Aims to Collect 100k diapers before new years" WJON
"The Untold Stories of Central Minnesota: Operation Baby New Year" 88.1FM KVSC
A story, and a conversation
By Justin Lewandowski
Operation Baby New Year officially began in 2015 when a group of friends got together to have a conversation about diapers at the Good Earth Food Co-Op. That conversation was started due to an experience that I had two years prior, and it was one that I won't forget.
During my lunch break one afternoon I witnessed a domestic assault. As I was pulling into the parking lot of a local grocery store, I noticed that a man was viciouslly attacking a women on the side of the building. Slamming my car into park, I ran from my vehicle while calling on other bystanders to immediately call the police. I sprinted into the altercation and managed to pull the man away from the woman as she was ushered into the store toward safety.
The man, in a rage, kept trying to get into the store, but was blocked by myself a growing crowd of individuals. He took off in a sprint when he realized the police were nearing, however, and in moments he was clear out of site.
I bought the woman who had just been assaulted a cup of coffee, and we sat, and talked. She told me about her story, about the hard times she had fallen on. She told me how hard it was to leave her abusive boyfriend, because without his income, they wouldn't be able to afford diaper for her kids. Her children. We talked about them at length, she showed me pictures. We smiled at each other, hugged, cried, and I gave her ride to where she needed to go before heading back to work.
I never ate lunch that day.
I finished the rest of my work shift in a daze, the woman's wording ringing in my ears. The next morning I called the Anna Marie's Alliance office in Saint Cloud, an organization which provides support for survivors of domestic abuse, and asked them what I could do to help, "What is your biggest need right now?"
It was diapers.
That phone call and the several that followed to other service organizations in the Saint Cloud area opened up my eyes to a very prevailing and persistent need that extended not only across our state, but across the county: diaper assistance. The more I read about the need for diaper assistance, the more important it became to me that we start having conversations about poverty and the economic barriers of those living in crisis, and how we need to work together to organize community based solutions . And one of those prevailing barriers was diapers.
That was the conversation we started as a small group of friends at the Good Earth Co-Op, and less than 4 weeks later, we had collected over 100,000 diapers for those in need. That summer, we collected an additional 70,000 diapers, and extended our radius in order to support more rural communities outside of Saint Cloud. In one year Operation Baby New Year raised over $30,000 dollars worth of diapers for central Minnesota families because a group of friends had a conversation, and helped generate the hundreds more which followed.
Thank you for helping us keep this conversation going in central Minnesota. There are too many stories of parents and children going without that are never heard, and by having conversations on poverty and the economic barriers of those living in crisis, I believe that we can better understand our neighbors, ourselves, and how to discover solutions that uplift and enrich our communities.
One conversation can change your life.
Imagine what happens if you keep speaking.