How to help with often unspoken need for diapers

Orlando Dream Center gets diapers in hands of needy

ORLANDO, Fla. – Janelle Adorno is this week's News 6 Getting Results Award winner. 

Adorno, founder of the Orlando Dream Center, started a program called "Gentle Bottoms" three years ago as a way to distribute diapers to those in need. 

Adorno said it's an unspoken need affecting many parents and their children.

"Shock. It's always a shock," she said, describing the reaction people have when first learning of the need. 

She said that need can affect families lives in more ways than many think.

"There is no government funding for diaper assistance," Adorno said. "If these children don't have enough diapers to go into day care they cannot be there. How does the parent work?"

Adorno says she's seen situations where parents leave diapers on too long, leave them off or even try makeshift alternatives.

"We've run into situations where there's a baby with a black garbage bag and a paper towel," she said. 

Once a month, the Orlando Dream Center holds an outreach at the Taft Community Center in South Orange County. Between 20 and 30 families from across Central Florida arrive to collect about a week's worth of diapers per child. As a requirement, parents are required to attend a counseling and education presentation.  

"It's just a joy to see someone that is desperate and they're thinking there really is this resource, there really is help," Adorno said. "And it doesn't stop there -- we get donations of baby food, sippy cups, pacifiers and even cloth diapers."

Adorno says she's aware of the need because she was there herself.

"I was in that position as a young mom," she said. "Due to my need financially, I didn't have the money to buy diapers, so I did do that."

Yaneisy Maldonado, outreach coordinator, says the Orlando Dream Center also provides a food distribution program, an adopt-a-block program and an after-school program. 

"We have been getting results for five years," Maldonado said. "So I nominated Janelle. She cares about people."

Maldonado and Adorno, along with a group of other volunteers, finish the presentation and distribution in about an hour.  The families file out of the community center one by one with bags of diapers and other supplies in hand. Many will be back next month.

"We just want to let them know that they're not alone. They're not alone," Maldonado said. "There is help out there, and we're going to help them." 

Adorno and the Orlando Dream Center partner with the Diaper Bank of Central Florida to collect and distribute diapers.   

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