Wilton church addressing basic needs during Diaper Drive

The Wilton Congregational Church will be hosting a "Diapers and Basics Drive" throughout the month of May and donating the collected items to various nonprofit organizations.

The Wilton Congregational Church will be hosting a “Diapers and Basics Drive” throughout the month of May and donating the collected items to various nonprofit organizations.

Bryan Haeffele / / bryanhaeffele.com / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — Wilton Congregational Church’s Debbie Garber hopes easy accessibility will lead to a high number of donations for the church’s Diaper and Basics Drive this month.

Just a few steps from the rear entrance of the picturesque church are designated drop-off bins. Residents do not need to come during service hours, they are open at all times. Donations of diapers, toiletries, such as shampoo and toothpaste, and paper products, such as toilet paper and paper towels are being requested.

Typically, WCC will host a Diaper Drive in the month of May, but this year's added wishlist came from a need voiced by some of the church’s mission partners.

“Usually, the need is food. There is more than just a need for just food now,” Garber said. “Speaking to our mission partners, they told me they needed essential items like diapers, toiletries or paper goods.”

Once again, the church will be partnering with and donating the collected diapers to Covenant to Care for Children, a Hartford-based nonprofit that provides services for “abused, neglected or impoverished children in Connecticut by providing essential support in moments that are critical for a child's ability to thrive and a family's ability to stay together.”

This year, the church will also be aiding the Keystone House in Norwalk with donations of toiletries and to Wilton Social Services with paper products.

The focus is on specific needs this year, Garber said. While WCC usually does an “umbrella drive” in April for the Keystone House, representatives of the nonprofit specified a need for toiletries this year. Garber explained that with less people outside this spring, umbrellas were substituted for toiletries and she is excited to address that need.

She said the church doesn’t have specific benchmarks or numbers it aims to reach, but hopes they receive any amount of donations that will help make a difference for their mission partners.

She said that during their last “normal” Diaper Drive in 2019, the church and community were able to collect over 2,100 diapers. She is optimistic that more total items can be collected this year.

Her optimism isn’t bound by the excess of choices though, it's the eagerness for service project coordinators and fellow parishioners to start a measured transition back towards “normalcy.”

“The pandemic has brought challenges, including for people to gather, is it safe to gather. Well, as a result, some of the hands-on service projects we might have done, we have had to curtail,” Garber said. “We just couldn't bring people together to do them. Now that it is getting safer for people to do it together, I am finding that, in addition to monetary gifts, we are able to do more of that kind of hands-on work.”

Garber said WCC members are still talking to mission partners on what is needed, and are currently in the process of planning more service projects for this summer.

Memorial Day will be the final day for the donations at the rear of the church for this service project, Garber said. The very next day, they will be boxing up all of the collected goods and sending them off to the designated organizations.

“It has been energizing to do it together again,” she said.