Diaper Drive UPDATE 3-21-20

Here is the latest update to the DIAPER Drive, via Facebook Live on March 18th…

This entry was posted on March 21, 2020. 1 Comment

Diaper Drive UPDATE

We know that a lot of information regarding health and safety has been, and continues to be, shared with everyone in a variety of ways. While the information we are sharing here is not directly related to COVID-19, it is because of the Coronavirus outbreak that we are having to share this information with you.

First, the Kyleigh’s Gift DIAPER Drive is still happening on schedule! In just one week, links will be made live and drop-off locations will begin accepting DIAPERS. Our number one goal for holding the DIAPER Drive every year is to make sure babies stay clean, healthy and happy. This could not be more true right now. There will, however, be a few changes to how we conduct the DIAPER Drive, as noted below.

1. Liberty Hospital will no longer serve as a drop-off location. Patient safety is the hospital’s top priority and as they take proactive steps to protect patients and staff, we will not be able to utilize any part of the hospital at this time. If you have DIAPERS to drop-off, you may deliver them to Under the Awning, located at 121 E. Lexington Ave., Independence, MO 64050. You may also hold onto the DIAPERS and deliver to Liberty Hospital Foundation once visitor restrictions are lifted at the hospital. We do not know when this will occur, but the Foundation will accept DIAPERS at any time, even if it’s after the posted DIAPER Drive dates, once normal operating hours resume.

2. We have added a third online shopping option. There are now registry lists on Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart. While online shopping is popular with consumers right now, warehouses are running low on stock. Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart are all feeling the brunt of COVID-19. We will be continually updating each list to the best of our ability, but please understand that DIAPERS are in high demand right now and the availability can change very quickly. Links to each online registry will be made public on March 22. Watch our Facebook Page, Kyleigh’s Gift, or come back here for links.

3. If you are hesitant to purchase DIAPERS at a local store and drop them off, or you find that the online registry lists are low on stock, we are accepting online donations. All of the funds donated through this link, https://secure.lglforms.com/form_engine/s/RpB8KyFPTUdOIv5QBXtilw will be used strictly for DIAPERS. Please note that Liberty Hospital Foundation manages all funds donated to Kyleigh’s Gift and that this link has been set up by the Foundation, exclusively for the DIAPER Drive. 

4. If you wish to make a donation and prefer not to donate online, gift cards to Amazon, Target or Wal-Mart can be purchased and mailed to Liberty Hospital Foundation, 2525 Glenn Hendren Drive, Liberty, MO 64068. Please include a note that it is for the Kyleigh’s Gift Diaper Drive. Again, these funds will be used strictly for the purchase of DIAPERS. 

Please refer to It’s DIAPER Time for the original Kyleigh’s Gift DIAPER Drive post, where you can find more information about our efforts this year.

At this time, the Kyleigh’s Gift DIAPER Drive continues to be scheduled from March 22 – April 5. We will continue to provide updates should more changes occur. We appreciate your support and helping our community of babies stay clean, healthy and happy!

Thank you.

This entry was posted on March 14, 2020. 1 Comment

It’s DIAPER Time … Year #6!

Kyleigh’s Gift DIAPER Drive

March 22 – April 5, 2020

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**View the DIAPER Drive UPDATE from 3-21-20 here**

**View the DIAPER Drive UPDATE here**

In honor of Kyleigh’s 8th Birthday, we are hosting a DIAPER Drive from March 22-April 5. This is our sixth year of remembering Kyleigh through the gift of DIAPERS. Over 75,000 DIAPERS have been collected since the DIAPER Drive began in 2015. We continue to be amazed year after year as so many join together to donate DIAPERS! Can we surpass 100,000 DIAPERS with this year’s donations? We think we can!

We are excited to announce a change in this year’s DIAPER Drive! All size NEWBORN and size ONE DIAPERS will stay right here, where Kyleigh’s Gift has the biggest impact … Liberty Hospital Birthing Center!

In January 2020, Liberty Hospital Foundation ~ Kyleigh’s Gift began a Diaper Assistance Program for patients at Liberty Hospital Birthing Center. Patients who live in Clay, Platte, Clinton, Caldwell and Ray County and receive or qualify for assistance through a variety of agencies, are eligible to receive a one-time bundle of 75 DIAPERS, in either newborn or size 1. These DIAPERS are sent home with newborns to help get them through the first month of DIAPER need. Please note that DIAPERS used for newborns while in the Birthing Center do not come from this DIAPER Drive or Liberty Hospital Foundation~Kyleigh’s Gift.

All newborn and size one DIAPERS from the DIAPER Drive will benefit the Diaper Assistance Program. All other sizes collected, from size 2 through Pull-Ups, will be distributed to social service agencies in the Kansas City Metro area, giving us the opportunity to reach outside of the hospital walls. All DIAPERS collected will help infants and toddlers stay clean, healthy and happy!

One in five Kansas City area children live in poverty. Within this area, an estimated 23,000+ children do not receive the DIAPERS they need. Infants and toddlers who have access to clean, fresh DIAPERS are healthier and happier. Help us collect DIAPERS of all sizes, from newborn to Pull-Ups! Opened packages are accepted at drop-off locations.

Join us for this year’s DIAPER Drive, March 22-April 5, to honor Kyleigh on her birthday and to help provide this basic health need for so many infants and toddlers.

How can you donate?

1) Drop off locations: CANCELLED **Due to COVID-19, we are cancelling ALL Drop off locations. Please use the online registry options or donate monetarily online.**

**Please note: Due to patient and staff safety during the Coronavirus outbreak, Liberty Hospital will NOT be used as a drop-off location this year.

2) Order online:

Amazon Wish List: https://tinyurl.com/kyleighsdiapers

Target Wish List: tgt.gifts/kyleighsgift

Wal-Mart List: https://tinyurl.com/u449jws

Diapers will be shipped directly to us when you choose the Kyleigh’s Gift shipping address. Personalize a gift receipt if you want to include your name or a special message, otherwise, the diapers are sent anonymously.

3) Online Donations

Online donations are also accepted and will go towards the purchase of additional DIAPERS in size newborn and size one. All online donations are handled through Liberty Hospital Foundation.

Thank you for helping us remember our baby girl on her 8th Birthday while keeping babies clean and dry!

Learn more:
Kyleigh’s Gift on Facebook                                                                                                                    Liberty Hospital Foundation~Kyleigh’s Gift Fund: http://www.libertyhospitalfoundation.org

**Please note that this is not an actual event that you attend. The dates of the event denote the days that we are collecting diapers and you may donate at any time during those dates.

This entry was posted on February 23, 2020. 1 Comment

Ways We Remember

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When Kyleigh passed away at birth in 2012, my biggest fear as her mother was that she would be forgotten. How would people remember her when they didn’t even get to meet her? No amount of sympathy cards, flowers or meals in the present could replace the fear that she would be forgotten in the future. This fear became one of the main driving forces behind creating the Kyleigh’s Gift Fund through Liberty Hospital Foundation. We wanted a way to remember our daughter, a way for people to think of her on her birthday, a way to show people that although not here, she was making a difference. 

Kyleigh’s Gift has grown into so much more than we ever imagined it would. And it’s still growing! We are entering the seventh year of giving SleepSack Swaddles to every baby born at Liberty Hospital Birthing Center. Meal vouchers for NICU mothers and car seats/pack ‘n plays for families in need are two other ways that Kyleigh’s Gift impacts families at Liberty Hospital. Offering support through miscarriage care packages and memory boxes for women enduring pregnancy and infant loss are ways that we reach out to the bereaved. Providing the gift of time through an in-room cooling device, the Caring Cradle, gives families the opportunity to create more memories when faced with a devastating loss. We are continually monitoring these, and other programs, and finding new initiatives that will positively impact the Liberty community.

Kyleigh’s Gift started as a way for us to remember Kyleigh. Now, it has become an avenue for others to remember the Kyleigh in their life…babies like Henry, Lincoln, Eden, Benjamin, Daniel, Tyler, Hadley, Logan and Faith. Families who have been greatly impacted by the Caring Cradle have used this as a way to give back to Kyleigh’s Gift through memorial donations. These families were positively impacted during a devastating time because of the generosity of others who had given to Kyleigh’s Gift before them. Others have donated miscarriage care package items as a way to show appreciation for the memorial gift items they received while experiencing their own loss.

Remembrance is not always about loss though. The Castledine family created a team and participated in the 2018 Kyleigh’s Gift Run/Walk as a way to give back to the fund after receiving meal vouchers during a long NICU stay. They used the Run/Walk as a way to remember the loving care they received by nurses and the support received by Kyleigh’s Gift during their time spent in the NICU. The Castledine Team was the largest team, raising the most money, which earned them the 2018 Wave of Light Award. One of the greatest things about the Run/Walk is that it brings families together from all experiences. Families who have had a loss are standing next to families who brought their baby home and everyone is remembering in their own way. This creates a unique environment of support, love and friendship.

Giving back is just one way that we remember. Did you have a positive experience during your stay at the Birthing Center? Did you benefit from a meal voucher, SleepSack or pack ‘n play? Was your family impacted by bereavement resources or memorial gifts? Are you looking for a way to include others in remembering with you? We invite you to use the Kyleigh’s Gift Run/Walk and Candlelight as a way to remember, whether that remembrance is a way to calm a fear that your baby will be forgotten or simply a way to say ‘thank you.’

~Kyleigh’s mom

Transitions 3

Back to school time is upon us yet again, and it is one of the few times a year anymore where I feel the nagging urge to write. Maybe it’s the hustle and bustle from leaving summer behind and beginning another school year, the longing for the simple days to continue, but my mind always swirls with the connection between back to school and grief. Certainly not two things that most people tie together. I had it all planned out in my head, I just needed the time to sit down and put it to paper. Then the park happened and my original thoughts were thrown out the window.

Our older two children started school yesterday, so I took our youngest to the park. We stopped to pick up donuts and milk, then headed to the local park of her choice. Ironically, she chose the park where Kyleigh has an engraved memorial stone, located in the Children’s Memorial Butterfly Garden. We had not been to this park in quite some time, mainly due to heavy construction happening within the park. I wasn’t even sure if we could get to the playground or Butterfly Garden, but we did.

We walked over to the butterfly garden to sit in the shade and eat our breakfast treat. When we were done, Kyleigh’s sister asked me to show her where Kyleigh’s stone was and then asked me to read what was on it. She will be quick to tell you she is four and a half, and just starting to read. I pointed the stone out and we talked about what it says and what it all means. She has been there before, but I think some of the details from the stone had escaped her from the last visit. After spending a few more minutes there, we walked up to the playground where she quickly found some other girls to play with who appeared to be her age and even a year or so older.

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As it got closer to our time to leave, the other group of young girls asked their mom and grandma if they could go to the garden to look for butterflies. As I overheard the conversation, I was hopeful that my daughter would want to stay on the playground. I pointed out to her that we didn’t see any butterflies when we were at the garden earlier, but that I had seen some flying around the playground if she wanted to stay and look for them there. She declined that offer and instead wanted to follow the other girls back to the garden, so off we went.

When we got down there, the girls started asking their mom and grandma what was written on the stones. The mom brushed them off and tried to get them to focus on the flowers, while looking for butterflies. The girls kept asking about the stones, and the mom kept avoiding, so what does my daughter do? She took it upon herself to tell them. By this point, they were actually standing right next to Kyleigh’s stone, so my daughter bent down and read the stone to them, remembering word for word from what I had read to her earlier. She then proceeded to tell them that Kyleigh was her sister and she was buried there. The other girls looked confused and started asking questions, while my daughter continued to tell them two to three more times that it was her sister’s name and that she had died.

The mom finally spoke up and told the girls that they were probably names of families who had paid for the park. She never came out and said she didn’t believe what my daughter was saying, but by her dismissing what my daughter was saying, it sure came across that way. Kyleigh’s sister read the stone to them again and explained in her four and a half year old way what it meant. She clearly had this situation under control, so I only spoke up and corrected her when she again said her sister was buried there, as nobody is. When all of this started, I couldn’t tell if the mom really had no idea what the Children’s Memorial Butterfly Garden was, or if she was trying to avoid the topic of deceased children with her own daughters, which is most likely the case. I’m sure I would have done the same if I didn’t have my child’s name etched in a stone. My children are clearly not afraid to talk about it. What became clear about the mom though, is that she didn’t believe what my daughter was saying, until I corrected her about people not being buried there.

The mom never did say anything directly to me. It was one of those weird, uncomfortable for her, situations that bereaved parents often find themselves in when it comes to talking about babies and children dying. She was not rude in any way, just clearly trying to avoid any and all conversation about the subject.

As we left the park, I realized this couldn’t have happened on a more perfect day. Kyleigh would have started 2nd grade today. She should have stepped onto the bus with her brothers and we should have had three classrooms to stop at for pictures this morning instead of two. The first day of school is one of those days where it’s blaringly obvious to us that there will always be one missing from our family. The sting is less now than it was in previous years, but I imagine that it will become stronger at certain school year milestones. And our children are aware of it, too. They know she should have been at school today. Sometimes I think they even struggle seeing the children at school that could have been Kyleigh’s classmates and friends. It certainly causes them to stop and pause when they think about what grade she would be in. It is also yet another year of transitions for our family. Our oldest has entered his last year of elementary school, with our youngest beginning her final year of preschool. Come back a year from now to read about my sobfest, as all of our children will be stepping onto the bus!

Whenever I visit the Butterfly Garden, I always make a point to stop and read the stones of the ones I know. Today, those names meant even more as we walked out. Lincoln would have just turned five and would probably be starting Kindergarten this year. Olivia would have turned five in April and she would have started Kindergarten this year, as well. Joseph (Joey) is the same age as my youngest son, but would have been a year behind him in school. And sweet Jack would be a first grader this year.

It also made me think of the mom who tried so hard to avoid the conversation with my daughter. I am so proud of my daughter for sticking with what she knew and repeating it over and over. I’m proud of her for sharing her sister with others, and also for not backing down just because an adult didn’t believe her. I also felt like I had transitioned. If this had happened even a year ago, I would have probably tried to hush my own daughter, as to not create an uncomfortable situation. Instead, I stepped back and let her share Kyleigh in her own way. As she gets older, she is becoming more aware of the sister that isn’t with her. It makes her sad and the last thing I want to do is silence her desire to talk about Kyleigh.

So I leave you with this … believe in children. Believe that what they are telling you is the truth until they give you a reason not to, and then help them find the truth. Stop and listen to what children have to say. Many are wise beyond their years. And yes, they are always listening, so be mindful of what you say. Have the hard conversations. Wouldn’t you rather it come from you than someone else? I don’t know what the mom and girls talked about on their way home today. I hope that it had something to do with all the names written on the stones, because my daughter set her up for the perfect conversation starter about life and death.

And for those of you who are missing someone at the start of this school year, we understand.

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Transitions

Transitions 2

Heroes Among Us

“When I was told that the theme for this year’s Reflections program was “Heroes Around Me” I thought that doing a writing on organ donors would be an awesome thing for someone to learn about. I think the heroes around me are heroes because they donated or received the gift of life.” ~ Kyleigh’s brother at age 8

When our children’s school sent home information on the PTA Reflections Program this past September, our middle child immediately showed interest. He is our creative one with a big imagination, so it didn’t surprise me that he wanted to explore this contest of the Arts. The theme for this year was “Heroes Around Me” and his mind went straight to organ/tissue donation. He interviewed three people whose lives have been affected by organ/tissue donation and submitted a literature piece, “Heroes Through Donation,” to the school PTA Reflections program.

“The heroes around me are heroes because they donated or received the gift of life. My sister Kyleigh is a hero because she was a tissue donor. … Kyleigh is a hero to me because even in death she gave the gift of life by donating tissue. … My friend Hannah is a hero because she had a heart transplant. … Hannah is a hero to me because I thought she was really brave when she had her heart transplant. … Blair is a hero because she donated 6 organs giving the gift of life to 5 people. Blair’s mom decided to donate Blair’s organs because Blair lived as a loving, kind, and giving person. …” ~excerpts from “Heroes Through Donation”

A few months later, we learned that he received first place in Literature for his age/grade division at our local school. As you can imagine, we were very proud of him! The school held a nice awards ceremony and showcased everyone’s work. It was there that we learned his Literature piece would go on to the state level.

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1st Place Literature – local school PTA Reflections Program

In March, he received word that his writing was awarded Honorable Mention at the Missouri State PTA Reflections Program. There was to be an awards ceremony for this as well, taking place just a few days after Kyleigh’s birthday in April. April is also Donate Life Month, so what better way to raise awareness on organ/tissue donation than to be recognized for writing about it! We decided to take a quick day trip so that he could participate and be honored for his work.

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Honorable Mention Literature – Missouri State PTA Reflections Program

This morning, our family took part in the Legacy Walk that is put on by Midwest Transplant Network for all donor and recipient families. It was a wet, cool day for May 11, but that didn’t keep people home. Everyone was there to celebrate someone. Between raising awareness for organ/tissue donation and pregnancy/infant loss, we attend a handful of events each year. The Legacy Walk is the one event that gets me every year. I walk around with a lump in my throat the entire time. A sea of people, all there because their lives are touched by organ/tissue donation. You don’t always know who the donor families and recipient families are. Some groups contain both. But what you do know is everyone is there for a common goal…to celebrate the gift of life.

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Legacy Walk 2019

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The video below will not play directly from here, but if you click ‘Watch on Facebook’, you can see two families who met at the Legacy Walk for the first time. A donor family and a recipient family at the same event, not even realizing it. Amazing.

 

If someone you know has been touched by organ/tissue donation, I encourage you to attend the Legacy Walk next year. It truly is an amazing event and I’m convinced that one of these years, the sun will shine!

Oh, and if you haven’t registered to be an organ/tissue donor, do it today. You may give someone the gift of life. https://registerme.org/

 

 

Diaper Need

Ten times. Ten times in the last month I panicked because I ran out of diapers. That’s more than twice a week that I didn’t have a clean diaper to put on my baby. That’s ten times that my baby had to sit in a dirty diaper longer than usual because I knew if I changed them as soon as the diaper was wet or soiled, then I’d run out way before the month was over. And I don’t get paid for another week. But at least it wasn’t as bad as last month when I ran out halfway through the month because the baby got sick and needed more diapers than usual. I had to borrow from my neighbor then, but her baby is a lot smaller than mine, so the diapers didn’t fit very well. She told me not worry about paying her back, but I feel guilty because now she is without the diapers she needs.

There is not a grocery store close enough to walk to, and since my car broke down three months ago, I have to rely on someone else to take me to the store. And the diapers there are so expensive anyway. It’s cheaper to buy a bigger box, but we need food too, so I can’t even do that. Plus, I’m trying to save a little bit extra each paycheck so I can get my car fixed. I hope next month is better. Everyone keeps telling me that as my baby gets older, they won’t need their diaper changed as often. I hope that’s true.

Or maybe it happened this way…

Three kids. Three kids under the age of three. That’s three kids in diapers at the same time. For a long time. I don’t know how we’re going to do it.

That wasn’t our plan. We didn’t expect our first pregnancy would result in twins, and then that we’d be expecting again so soon. My husband had a good job. I did too. Daycare is so expensive that we decided I should quit my job and stay home. It was working out well. Sure, we couldn’t go on any big vacations or buy expensive clothes, but with two year old twins, where would we go? Three months ago, my husband got laid off from his job. The next week, I found out I was pregnant. I’m starting to panic because he can’t find a job and our savings is slowly being depleted.

We have everything we’ll need for the new baby. Except diapers. And we can barely afford to put diapers on the twins. I’m starting to panic because I’m afraid I’m going to have to choose between buying diapers for my baby or buying diapers for the twins.

Or maybe it happened this way…

One time. One time I panicked because we were out of diapers. One time over the course of three children. Let’s say all three of my children were done with diapers on their 3rd birthday, that’s 108 total months of somebody in diapers. And only one time I ran out.

But when I ran out, I sent my husband to the store to buy more.

It seems silly that I panicked, but there were always diapers in the house. And if not in the house, there was always a handful in the diaper bag. And if the diaper bag was empty, there was for sure an extra one or two in the car. And I always knew this well in advance of running out, so when the stack got low at home, I knew a trip to Target or the grocery store was in order because I didn’t want to be without diapers. Because all parents know that as soon as you get low and say, “oh, we can make it one more day,” a stomach bug hits and all of a sudden you need 10 diapers within 2 hours. So we always made sure we had diapers.

And that time I panicked because I couldn’t find that one more diaper? I don’t even remember which baby that was with because I knew at the end of the day, we’d have diapers again.

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While we all wish the last scenario was true for everyone, we know that’s not the reality. The last scenario is our own. Diaper need has never been a concern for us. We have always been able to put clean, fresh diapers on our children. But what we have learned along the way is that diaper need is very real and we want to be a part of the solution.

The first two scenarios are very real to a lot of people. Diaper need is all around us. One in five Kansas City area children live in poverty. An estimated 23,000+ children in Kansas City are not receiving the diapers they need to stay clean and healthy. The reasons are endless and diaper need exists everywhere. Children who sit in dirty diapers get cranky. They cry because it’s uncomfortable and hurts. It can lead to infections and illnesses. It can lead to abuse when the baby won’t stop crying. It is not something that most people think of, especially if you have never experienced diaper need yourself.

Many people wonder why those with a diaper need do not use cloth diapers. Cloth diapers need to be rinsed out and washed several times a day or week, depending on how many you have. Most people with a diaper need do not have access to laundry facilities on a daily basis. The majority of laundromats do not allow cloth diapers to be washed for sanitary purposes.

Another question often raised is what about public assistance programs like WIC, food stamps or SNAP? Diapers are not covered under any of these programs, even though the families enrolled in these programs are the ones who often need diapers the most.

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The Kyleigh’s Gift Diaper Drive distributes the collected diapers to three agencies: HappyBottoms, Lee’s Summit Social Services and North Star Baby Grace. All three of these agencies are doing amazing things within their own communities and the Kansas City area to help wipe out diaper need.

HappyBottoms

HappyBottoms is Kansas City’s Diaper Bank. They work strictly with diapers, nothing else. HappyBottoms partners with 37 local social service agencies to ensure that diapers make it onto the bottoms of those in greatest need. Qualifying babies receive either 50 diapers per month or 30 training pants per month. Families are educated on proper diapering tips, stress reducing strategies and information on potty training. HappyBottoms works to fill the diaper gap, being one piece of the puzzle when giving families a hand-up.

Kyleigh’s Gift has worked with HappyBottoms every year of the Diaper Drive and has given the majority of diapers collected to HappyBottoms.

Lee’s Summit Social Services

Lee’s Summit Social Services is a non-profit agency that benefits low income families and individuals with basic needs, such as clothing, food, school supplies, utility/rent payments, etc. Without the many volunteers from the community, LSSS would not be what it is today. Individuals and groups sort food at the food pantry, sort and tag items at the Thrift Store and help with seasonal projects, such as the Back-To-School and Christmas Store. LSSS assists those with long term needs, as well as emergency needs.

Kyleigh’s Gift donated diapers to LSSS for the first time in 2018. We chose this organization because it is in the community where we live and we wanted to bring a little bit of Kyleigh’s Gift closer to home.

North Star Baby Grace

North Star Baby Grace is one of several Baby Grace locations around the Kansas City area. North Star Baby Grace is a ministry within the North Star United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, located in the Northland. Baby Grace’s mission is to share God’s love and grace by offering material, emotional and spiritual support and development for families with young children. They hold quarterly open houses where gently used clothing, toys, baby gear, etc. are available. A small package of diapers is also given, when available. All families are welcome, as Baby Grace’s intent is to serve families who would realize a financial hardship if they were to purchase these items at full price.

Kyleigh’s Gift began donating diapers to North Star Baby Grace in 2018. We chose Baby Grace because of the wonderful work they do for families all over the Kansas City area. We focused on North Star Baby Grace because many of the families they serve are from the Liberty, Missouri area.

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The Kyleigh’s Gift Diaper Drive continues through April 5, 2019. For more information on how you can donate, click here. Thank you for being a part of the diaper need solution.