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Eight-year-old spearheads diaper driveSubmitted: 05/10/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Eight-year-old spearheads diaper drive
STEVENS POINT - When you think of basic needs for people in poverty, you probably think of food, shelter, and maybe gas for the car.

But for people living in poverty WITH young children, something else can also be a big expense - and big problem if it's not around.

On Friday, we found a group looking to collect DIAPERS to help those in need.

The United Way of Portage County kicked off their No Child's Wet Behind Diaper Drive today.

One of their top spokespeople might be a little different than what you'd envision.

"Mom and dads can't always get out of the house or afford diapers, because they're apparently really expensive, so this is helping. We're going to distribute the diapers through Operation Bootstrap, and it's going to go to those families that need them," says Ellie Andrews.

Eight-year-old Ellie has done everything from speaking before groups to radio commercials to raise awareness for the diaper drive.

The Women's Fund of Portage County hosted the kickoff for the drive.

As well as collecting diapers, the Women's Fund and United Way want to raise awareness for the issue itself.

"Lots of people can relate to the expense of diapers because they've had children. But they don't put it into perspective to think, 'oh my gosh, if I'm making minimum wage or $10 an hour, to supply diapers to one child can mean 10% of my annual income'. That's a lot of money," says United Way of Portage County Director of Community Impact Patti Cahill.

The drive is also partnering with Portage County businesses and churches.

It officially runs from this Mother's Day weekend (this weekend) to Father's Day weekend in June.

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"I'm glad I was at work and sitting down in my chair because it was mind blowing," said Van Strydonk.

At this year's derby in Eagle River, Van Strydonk raced in a custom made suit and helmet which he planned to auction off the last day of the derby.

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Strydonk donated $3,000 to the Honor Flight Foundation which will send six veterans on an upcoming flight. He also gave Wounded Warriors $1,000 and $500 to the Tomahawk VFW Post Wednesday.

"It never ceases to amaze me the gratitude and the love that the people of Tomahawk and surrounding A two-time World Snowmobile Derby Champion raced for something bigger than just himself at last month's derby.

Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk decided to design a custom racing suit and matching helmet to be auctioned off the last day of the derby.

Wednesday, he lived up to that promise with a larger donation than he ever expected.

"I'm glad I was at work and sitting down in my chair because it was mind blowing," said Van Strydonk.

At this year's derby in Eagle River, Van Strydonk raced in a custom made suit and helmet which he planned to auction off the last day of the derby.

"It was actually a really cool suit and I only wore it once," said Van Strydonk.

He planned to raise enough money to send at least three veterans on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight which is about $1,500 but much like his competition, he blew that goal away.

"I believe we were just at $5,000," said Van Strydonk.

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