As Christina folded and packed the tiny, white diapers into plastic bags, she thought about the babies that would wear them – small, sweet and innocent. Tears welled in her eyes when she thought about the hardships some families with small children face in our community. The stories reminded her of similar circumstances her children once faced before she adopted them. That morning she worked alongside her team members with gratitude that she could do her part to help out.
Christina Mercado, a Regulatory Compliance Analyst, and seven fellow CPS Energy employees spent a morning last week volunteering at the Texas Diaper Bank. During the experience, the team learned how the United Way agency changes the lives of babies, children with disabilities, and seniors in the Greater San Antonio Area. One in three families can’t afford or don’t have access to a steady supply of diapers and have nowhere else to turn.
“There is actually no government assistance for diapers,” said Katherine Garcia, Development Coordinator of the nonprofit. “It’s not something that can be purchased with food stamps or anything like that. Parents have to rely solely on their income for those diapers.”
Katherine said volunteers are critical to the Diaper Bank’s mission. Without them, they wouldn’t be able to repackage donations and get them out to families and other partner agencies. During their three hours at the agency, Christina’s team embodied this year’s United Way campaign theme – Lifting Our Community – by repackaging more than 11,000 diapers. The donations will provide 37 children with a one-year supply of diapers.
This month, CPS Energy has been hosting a companywide campaign to encourage employees to make a monetary pledge to United Way and support agencies like the Diaper Bank that provide critical services to people in our community. As a pacesetter company, CPS Energy kicks off the campaign earlier than some companies to set the pace for the community-wide campaign. Katherine said a lot of the agency’s funding comes from the United Way and helps it provide diapers and wipes to babies, seniors and children with disabilities throughout the year.
“The need here in Bexar County is definitely great,” said Katherine. “Unfortunately, a lot of our citizens live in poverty, but thanks to the United Way, CPS Energy and other organizations, we are actually able to help those families because we’re such a giving city.”
Next spring, Christina will watch her son, Antonio, graduate from high school. Her daughter, Athena, is also on her way to becoming a successful adult, taking classes at Palo Alto College. Christina counts her blessings and is grateful that she could raise her adopted children in a loving household. The experience at the Diaper Bank provided her with perspective that we can all take to heart.
“We need to give back because this is our community,” she said. “We’re part of it. Everybody should share in community service because you may need help one day, too.”
Want to give back to our community? Join our efforts to Live United and Lift Our Community. Make a difference with a pledge to United Way. It’s a great way to put People First!