Thieves snatch thousands of diapers destined for needy

Jun. 02, 2014 @ 09:23 PM

Michelle Old was preparing an order for Urban Ministries on Monday morning when she realized something was wrong.

The executive director of the North Carolina Diaper Bank had an order for 5,000 size 4 diapers, but not one available – despite the fact they’d had shelves full of them on Saturday.

“Someone cleared out every single 4 we had in stock,” Old said. “It’s heartbreaking. Every single one of those came from the generosity of people wanting to help families in need.”

Durham police are investigating the theft of about 13,000 diapers from storage areas donated for the diaper bank’s use by Calvary Methodist Church on Trinity Avenue.

Old thinks someone may have broken into the storage area Sunday. She saw two boxes dropped in a hallway, as if the thieves might have left in a hurry and dropped some on the way out.

She estimated that the stolen diapers are worth about $5,000, but said it was more important to understand that those diapers amount to a full week’s supply for hundreds of babies in the area.

The organization launched in June 2013 with the goal of distributing 50,000 diapers in a year to families in need through partner organizations, such as Urban Ministries and Genesis Home. Within 11 months, however, they actually distributed 139,000.

Now, they are in greatest need of size 3, 4 and 5 diapers. Those small sizes for infants are in greatest demand because children grow through the sizes so quickly, but then stabilize about the time they reach size 5.

To help, visit the diaper bank's website at

Diapers also can be dropped off at “hot spot” locations:

-- Bull City Craft, 2501 University Drive, Durham

-- Stay & Play Snack Café, 405A East Chapel Hill Street, Durham

-- Chapel Hill Children’s Clinic, 301 Kildaire Road No. 2011, Chapel Hill

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