Fair Lawn shul collects diapers
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Fair Lawn shul collects diapers

Young parents’ need for the basics spurs drive by energized couple

From left, Rabbi Ely Shestack of Ahavat Achim and Andrew and Kira Wigod 
stand in front of a stack of donated diapers.
From left, Rabbi Ely Shestack of Ahavat Achim and Andrew and Kira Wigod stand in front of a stack of donated diapers.

Anyone who has ever had a baby knows how important diapers are. (Even if haven’t had one, probably you can guess.)

Unfortunately, one in three families cannot afford diapers. In order to send your child to daycare while you work, you need to be able to supply diapers for your child. If you cannot afford those diapers, you cannot work. Public assistance might cover formula and other baby accoutrements, but it does not cover the cost of diapers.

Kira and Andrew Wigod, long-time Fair Lawn residents, know about these heartbreaking and distressing facts and statistics. Kira Wigod, who is a licensed clinical social worker in the Bronx and in Teaneck, has seen how financially demanding costs can have a detrimental effect on families. She and her husband decided that they wanted to help do something about the problem.

“As a mom of a 2-year-old, someone who goes through a lot of diapers, it hit me really hard to learn how many people cannot afford this basic necessity,” Ms. Wigod said. “Andrew and I decided that we needed to do something, and then we decided that tying a diaper drive with a children’s event would be the best way to start making a difference.” So, putting their thoughts into action, they sponsored a show with the Lizard Guy, paired with a diaper drive.

As they planned, they decided to reach out to the Fair Lawn branch of the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Northern New Jersey, because the agency is local and it has food pantries that distribute diapers and other baby items. (One of the pantries is in Fair Lawn, and the other is in Teaneck.) “We wanted to make this a local cause and that is why we chose to have the event itself at Ahavat Achim,” Ms. Wigod said. (Ahavat Achim is an Orthodox synagogue on Saddle River Road in Fair Lawn.) For the week before the February 10 show, participants were encouraged to donate diapers, and the Wigods coordinated with JFCS to have the diapers brought to the food pantry. Admission to the show was a sealed pack of diapers. More than 4,000 diapers were collected, and more than 150 people from all over Bergen County showed up so see the Lizard Guy — and to donate diapers.

Michael Dworkis is a member of Ahavat Achim and he was the Wigods’ contact person at JFCS. He and his family attended the event. “ “This diaper donation will help hundreds of JFCS families keep their children comfortable while allowing parents to put their dollars towards more pressing needs such as food and healthcare costs,” he said.

The Wigods were “overwhelmed with the turnout and the amazing generosity” of their congregation and the community, and they hope to turn this one-time diaper drive into an annual event. But the most important thing, they felt, was shining a light on the very important issue at hand. That’s the fact that families who are struggling to survive economically often can’t afford to pay for diapers, and that can and does affect their children’s health and well-being. Wigod also pointed out that “when your child outgrows a size of diapers, you can always donate the remaining sealed packages to the food pantry because they are always looking for donations.”

People are invited to drop off sealed packages of diapers to the food pantry on 17-10 River Road, Fair Lawn.

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