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Fill Your Cup Spotlight: Jessica Histo, Hawai’i Diaper Bank

Through a community partnership with Waiākea Hawaiian Volcanic Water, Big Island Pulse will be featuring an individual or organization to shed light on the incredible things they are doing to provide support to our Big Island Communities. This month, we are honored to present Jessica Histo and the Hawai’i Diaper Bank for our Fill Your Cup Spotlight! 

Motivated Through Giving

Jessica Histo, Founder & President of the Hawai’i Diaper Bank, was looking to donate diapers that her son had outgrown. After having done a search online, she came across the National Diaper Bank Network and realized that there was not a Hawai’i Chapter. Taking the steps to start, Histo decided to establish the organization in 2016. That year, she singlehandedly held her first Diaper Drive during National Diaper Need Awareness Week (NDNAW), which resulted in receiving over 4,000 diapers and multiple packages of wipes!! She continued holding Diaper Drives the following years and was able to collaborate with the Hawai’i Children’s Action Network in 2018. Through that collaboration, she was able to start support local families on a regular basis.

Hawai'i Diaper Bank? What's That?

“Hawai’i Diaper Bank is the state’s first official diaper bank focusing on eliminating diaper need.” says, Histo. “Diaper need is the lack of sufficient supply of diapers to keep an infant or toddler clean, dry, and healthy. The average low-income family can pay over $1,000 a year on diapers per child.” Histo goes on to mention that low-income families put in approximately 14% of their annual income to purchase diapers and for families with multiple children in diapers, it extremely costly. The Hawai’i Diaper Bank is a part of two national networks that help provide the necessities to families in need of all baby related items. These items include diapers, wipes, hygiene items, clothes, formula, blanks, books, and age-appropriate toys for special occasions.

Mission Totally Possible

The mission for Hawai’i Diaper Bank is clear cut: “To serve and support the keiki of Hawai’i by providing diapers, wipes and other basic essentials to organizations that assist low-income families with multiple dependent children.” That is as clear as day! Histo was able to found the organization and started out as a part-time employee for the first three years. She says that the organization has since been able to distribute 1.3 billion donations with 400,000 of that being diapers. How amazing is that!!

She Had A Dream

After three years of completely overseeing the organization, Histo was able to acquire volunteers to help with her mission- Hannah London, Board Chair and Jennifer Evangelista, Auntie Ambassador. Both amazing women have backgrounds in non-profit service, too. London, provides much needed support in program management and Evangelista, regularly acts as an office manager who helps streamlines the organization’s monthly ordering process. Besides these trio of hardworking women, the organization fortunately has a network of dependable volunteers and community partners that collaborates and works with HDB to grow and help more keiki.

Community Centered

HDB partners with local non-profit and governmental organizations which connects families to the various community resources that those agencies provide. Because of the on-island partners, HDB is able to put in monthly orders of diapers and the relative essentials. The partnering organizations are also able to put in special requests through the organization’s Makana Pack Program. The Makana Pack Program is a resource for special occasions such as birthdays, pre-school graduations, reunifications, etc.

Demographical Importance

“Hawai’i County has the highest rate of poverty for young children in Hawai’i with 18% of children under the age of five living below the federal poverty level”, says Histo, “We serve families in need with young children between the ages of newborn up to 5 years old.” HDB’s partners share regularly about their collaboration with the organization, by letting their clients know that they can resource through them to receive assistance with diapers. Much of the clientele served is on Hawai’i Island and several large distributions were to assist on O’ahu and Moloka’i. Within the last year, HDB was able to serve of 1,800 keiki.

Goals

“The ultimate goal would be to end diaper need and that our services would no longer be needed,” says Histo. Besides aiding those in need, the organization also attempted to submit changes to the legislature to advocate for their cause. “So, in the time being, we’d love to be able to become a sustainable organization serving all of the keiki in need on Hawai’i Island and throughout the state.” The next goal? To acquire a larger warehouse facility and to be able to pay the amazing volunteer staff that put in their time so that they can better serve the community.

National Diaper Need Awareness Week

September 24th through October 2nd is National Diaper Awareness Week. To support the cause of their organization and to promote their efforts, Hawai’i Diaper Bank will be hosting their 3rd Annual Wipe Out Diaper Need Event at the W.M. Keck Observatory Headquarters in Waimea this Saturday, October 1st. The ohana day will feature activities for the keiki, craft and food vendors, and local entertainment. In addition to the fun filled activities for the day, there will also be giveaways and a silent auction to raise funds to aide in their efforts.

Need Help?

Histo says that while the Diaper Bank’s primary focus is low-income families, they also assist families in need. How, you ask? Well, through their website, of course! Fill out their form on their website and they will contact you directly to link you with a nearby partnering agency for the help you need. Eligible families can receive diapers monthly for each child between the ages of newborn and 5 years old and it must be through their agency partners.

Mahalo Jessica & The Hawai'i Diaper Bank

Diaper Need is a real thing. Through Jessica and her team at the Hawai’i Diaper Bank, keiki and their families are getting the help they truly need. Mahalo nui to you and your team for getting this valuable assistance to our ohana in the various communities you serve! We appreciate you for filling the cups of others and hope that we fill yours with our appreciation and gratitude!

Check out Hawai’i Diaper Bank’s socials below for more information about their amazing services and to stay updated on the latest events!

Phone: (808) 731-6611
Email: info@hawaiidiaperbank.org Website: www.hawaiidiaperbank.org
IG: @hawaiidiaperbank FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/HawaiiDiaperBank/

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