Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Two Heiny Helpers volunteers talk cloth with a pregnant mama. Photo courtesy of http://earthbecomesme.wordpress.com/

“You have to spend money to make money.” Did Benjamin Franklin say that? Or maybe Shakespeare? I know it’s not in the Bible. Whoever said it might have known a few things about cloth diapering. Choosing to use cloth on your child can save your family an enormous amount of money . . . but there is a catch. You have to have some money in the bank to buy those
diapers and get started.

For many families, finding a few hundred dollars to buy cloth diapers is just too far out of reach. Especially if they don’t know anyone who has successfully cloth diapered a child – it just seems like a big gamble. Instead, they shell out $15 here and $20 there on “disposables.”

Rev. Caela Simmons Wood demonstrating a cloth diaper. Photo courtesy of http://earthbecomesme.wordpress.com/

There is something about becoming a parents that makes you more compassionate. You see others’ needs and want to reach out. Three mamas at our church wanted to find a way to share our love of cloth diapering with families who are experiencing low income, so we started
a new organization: Heiny Helpers. In two months, we have lent cloth diapers to 20 babies and have appointments set up with 12 more. And we receive new applications almost daily.

Our mission is to provide cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to families with low income in the Bloomington, Indiana area. Each family we meet with qualifies for the federal WIC program. Each family that we work with receives a full-time set of cloth diapers and a wet bag. Each family
agrees to bring the diapers back to us when they’re finished so we can help another family.

Heiny Helpers volunteer sorts through their diaper stash. Photo courtesy of David Wood

We believe that compassionate advocacy means making sure these new cloth diapering families are set up for success. We meet face-to-face with each family and go over the many options in the world of cloth diapering. We ask them to carefully choose the type of diaper that will work best in their situation. We go over how to care for the diapers and possible troubleshooting. And we make sure each family knows how to get in touch with us if they have any questions. A month after the meeting, we call them to see how it’s going (and we check in after 6 months and a year, too).

It is a honor to do this work. Being compassionate literally means living with passion – and we have certainly become passionate about our work. The three of us that have been meeting with families have been amazed by the
outpouring of support we’ve received from cloth diaper manufacturers, cloth-diapering families, and local businesses and non-profits.

Watching a family walk out the door with a stash of diapers is an amazing experience. Talking to them a month later and hearing that it’s going great is even better. One baby at a time, we are helping families hold on to cash that would have been thrown away on “disposables.” And we are ensuring a better future for all of our children by keeping hundreds of thousands of diapers out of the landfill.

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Heiny Helpers was founded in January 2011 by three cloth-diapering mamas at First United Church in Bloomington, Indiana. We are actively seeking donations of used diapers and cash.
Thanks to our partnership with The Green Nursery, you can even purchase discounted diapers online that will go straight to us. Please visit our website and follow us on Facebook. You can contact us at info {at} heinyhelpers {dot} org.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don’t share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don’t parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That’s The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she’s learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the “good news” of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people’s children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter’s senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the “great divide” through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R’s of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how “The Three R’s” can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.

10 Responses to Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love

  1. Mrs Green @ littlegreenblog.com  

    Such meaningful and awesome work Heiny Helpers are doing. I love how you are being an advocate so compassionately and this has given me a LOT of food for thought in how I could be more active in spreading the message. Helping out like this takes away my fear of being preachy or dogmatic, so thank you!

  2. Dionna  

    What an incredible organization you’ve built! I love the enthusiasm that shines through in your post and pictures. Best wishes for continued success in sharing the cloth love with others.

  3. Mama Mo @ Attached at the Nip

    What a fabulous model for compassionate advocacy. Cheers to the mamas of Heiny Helpers!

  4. Vanessa  

    This is awesome! What a great idea.

  5. Ana @Pandamoly  

    You’re doing something so great! We cloth diaper about 50% of the time (it’s hard getting the babysitters on board… so I just do it when I’m home and on the weekends). I didn’t buy too many covers because they are so darn expensive! It’s wonderful that you’re able to help these families save on their expenses and reduce their waste! Keep up the great work!

  6. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ  

    Great post for CarNatPar! I love supporting businesses with a social conscience and yours certainly does that. It is inspiring how you connect with families and help them meet their needs. Thank you for spreading the word for cloth diapering by being a positive example

  7. Lauren  

    That is so cool! I love hearing powerful stories of advocacy like this one.

    We’re currently writing a cloth diapering book for NPN (http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/contest-write-for-npns-cloth-diapering-book/), and we’ll definitely have you on the resource list for cloth diapering charities.

  8. Kelly  

    What a unique and amazing ministry! Thanks so much for sharing this awesome inspiration :)

  9. Kat

    What an inspiring story! Thank you mamas at Heiny Helpers for helping out and spreading the cloth diaper love!!!

  10. Tara @ Feels Like Home  

    What a wonderful, wonderful resource!

    I wish there was something similar in my area. We are using cloth diapers to save money. We were able to get 36 prefolds (marked as seconds) and 12 covers (new on Ebay) for about $110 before I stopped working. Everyone says that prefolds and covers are a lot of work, but it’s the only cloth diapering method I’ve known, so it seems normal to me.

    Thanks again for blessing the people in your area.

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