BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Following the mass shooting at the Jefferson Avenue Tops Friendly Markets on May 14 last year, a diaper and hygiene drive was started to help those in Buffalo’s East Side community. The drive raised supplies for 8 months’ worth of supplies for those who use Every Bottom Covered, an organization that helps those in need of diapers, which aren’t covered under food stamps or SNAP benefits.
Last year, the drive supported Every Bottom Covered — a local nonprofit that started 2016 in Raziya Hill’s living room. Hill was a single parent who experienced diaper needs for her son 19 years ago.
“It’s just a really hopeless feeling that I hope no parent has to deal with, but when they do, I like to think that I’m starting and trying to be some aid to them,” Hill said. “Parents can spend up to $80 or $100 a month to purchase diapers, and if they’re already struggling to make ends meet, that is really a heavy burden.”
Hill discussed how the drive helped the East Side community in a time of need.
“We were able to take resources right out to the community on Jefferson, and we created a lot of partnerships from that time, so I like to think we tried to turn a tragic event into something at some level of hope,” she said. “In our community, we need hope. We need continued hope. We need to rebuild in our community so opportunities like this — where they’re not solemn they’re hopeful, they’re joyous — those are the type of things we need in our community.”
Every Bottom Covered now serves three counties, helping 750 families a month through their department agencies.
This year, the annual WNY for Hope Diaper and Hygiene Drive will help Every Bottom Covered, as well as Home Beneath Our Feet — a nonprofit on the East Side helping those from age 7 through high school age to learn life lessons and grow their skills through nature and gardening.
Home Beneath Our Feet was founded three years ago by Dwight Lowe. Hygiene products donated to the drive will directly help the nonprofit.
Lowe said that hygiene is the basic element to helping youth during Home Beneath Our Feet, but it is also designed to build confidence and make participants comfortable in striving toward their goals.
“Before we grow we make sure the soil is conditioned enough for the plant that’s needed for it to grow. At the same time, for ourselves we need to make sure that our environment is set for us to grow as well,” Lowe said. “For us, being an asset to the community and helping inspire those to lower the crime rate, to help with food insecurities — that’s what it’s all about.”
Kate Glaser, the founder of Hope Rises said it’s important to keep the event going every year to help the local communities.
“Things we take advantage of that we can easily buy at the store, are not as accessible as some people think,” she said. “We wanted to make it not just a one-time drive, but really an annual thing, where we really have a long-lasting impact on these communities.”
Glaser also told News 4 some of the products the drive is looking to receive, including:
- Feminine hygiene products
Highmark Vice President of Community Affairs Michael Ball also commented on the need for supplies.
“With the supermarket being closed, it was extremely challenging for people in the community to get the supplies they needed — especially those who have young families,” he said. “It really brought to light the challenges that many people in our community have every day.”
Donations will be accepted at all Delta Sonic convenience store locations in WNY until May 8th, as well as at Carte Blanche, Hamburg Brewing, and Buffalo Balloon Co.
Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.