Jessica was looking for a way to give back during the holiday season. She knew food, clothes, and Christmas presents were always a big need this time of year. She also knew many places that helped provide those services. One day as she was buying diapers for her son and it came to her attention that diapers were not covered by any government assistance program. She knew all to well that diapers, a basic need for all babies, were costly. This news was heartbreaking to her. She walked into Hy-Vee in Osage Beach and asked if they would allow her to do a diaper drive so that she could collect diapers for local families in need. She paired up with School of the Osage and Camdenton Parents as Teacher's groups. In just a short day and a half, joined by several volunteers, they were able to collect over 20,000 diapers.
Jess joined forces with Hy-Vee and local volunteers to do the same diaper drive.
Jess decided it was time to make this an official program. In November of 2018 The Bottom Dollar Bootyque was born. "Bootyque" was pronounced like "boutique" it was just a play on words to showcase the diaper aspect of the thrift store. The Bottom Dollar Bootyue was a place where families could donate items related to pregnancy and early childhood, volunteer their time, and raise money and awareness for the diaper need in the lake area. Proceeds from the "boutique" help buy diapers for local families which were then distributed by local schools and clinics.
March 29, 2019 the thrift store officially opened for business. We were blessed with many donations and customers. April brought health issues for Jess and she spent many of the next months in and out of the hospital or at home recovering. Trying to coordinate volunteers and keep the thrift store going was taking priority over getting diapers to families. In the fall of 2019 the board came to an agreement that it was time to take a leap of faith and close the thrift store. We weren't quite sure how we would stay funded without it, but we knew we wanted to put more of our time and energy into diaper distribution and education. The community blessed us with donations and diaper drives that helped us continue providing diapers to our partners. We changed the name to "The Changing Table" to better reflect our mission.
We learned a lot about how we wanted our diaper bank to run in 2020 as we started following other diaper banks around the country on social media. The Changing Table expanded to include more community partners from around the lake area. The word about the work we do started to spread. We navigated the obstacles COVID threw at us just like everyone else had to do. In July of 2020 we were accredited by the National Diaper Bank Network and continued to work to fulfill our mission. In September we hosted our first annual Diaper Drive Golf Tournament which was a big success. Winter of 2020 brought even more community partners, diaper need education, and successful diaper drives to help get us started on the right foot for 2021.
As we continue through 2021 we are building strong foundational relationships with community partners in Lake of the Ozarks and surrounding areas. The Changing Table is focused on reaching our goals for the year. We are now offering period products. Stay tuned to learn more about how we are working towards our mission.