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Walk the Walk Foundation

EWE Spirit Grant Recipient Story:

As part of EWE Spirit's 2023 4th quarter grants, we chose to support charity partners of the Bay Bridge Run as an extension of our participation. Walk the Walk received at $10,000 grant.

At Christmastime 1998, Kimberly Mitchell lost her baby boy halfway through her pregnancy. As she and her husband, David, mourned this tragic loss over the following years, they discovered a way to channel their love into the community. Each Christmas, they gave a gift to a child in need who was the age that their son would have been.

In 2005, this beautiful gesture turned into a multi-program nonprofit organization: Walk the

Walk Foundation. Its now much-expanded Christmas for Children program invites members of

the community to sponsor children in need throughout Anne Arundel County, Maryland, with

the matching assistance of the Department of Social Services and other local groups. To date,

the foundation has donated gifts to more than 10,000 children. In 2023, those gifts included 65 bikes and bike helmets.

Walk the Walk developed a second program to help prepare underprivileged children for

success in schools. In the leadup to each new school year, it raises funds and rallies volunteers

to stuff backpacks with school supplies. In 2023, the foundation distributed 1,600 backpacks to students.

The foundation’s third program addresses an even more immediate, year-round need and what

many describe as a critical public health issue: the unaffordability of diapers. No federal

programs subsidize this expense, which can average $70 to $80 per month per child. A 2023 survey found that nearly half of U.S. families with young children struggle to afford diapers. Some parents skip meals to save money for this necessity. Many try to stretch their supplies by leaving diapers on their babies for too long or reusing dirty diapers, which leads to rashes, urinary tract infections, and more serious conditions. Diapers are also a common requirement for day care. One diaper bank found that more than half of their parents missed work because they lacked the diapers necessary for their children’s day care.

“There is so much more need than a lot of us could ever imagine,” says the executive director

of Walk the Walk Foundation, Nicole Dolan. To help meet this demand, the foundation not only raises funds to purchase diapers through its partner, the National Diaper Bank Network, at a deeply discounted cost, but it also encourages community members to hold their own diaper drives. “This is a powerful tool in awareness and advocacy,” says Dolan. “A number of people collect diapers in very unique ways.”

For example, one donor hosts an annual Christmas party, asking her guests to bring diapers as a “price of admission.” Another donor decided to buy twice the number of diapers that she

needed throughout her child’s first year of life. “She showed up with an SUV full of diapers,”

remembers Dolan, adding that the foundation also proudly participates in the World’s Largest

Diaper Drive each May, which was started by a diaper bank in Ohio. Altogether, Walk the Walk Foundation donated more than 250,000 diapers to families in need in 2023.

With only one full-time staffer, the foundation couldn’t do such great work without hundreds of

volunteers—of all ages and backgrounds. “We will accommodate anyone,” says Dolan. “We

encourage parents to bring their kids to our volunteer events. Even a two-year-old can stuff

diapers into a bag. This is a great opportunity to expose kids to service at a young age.”

Even donation recipients are invited to give back however they can. The foundation’s Christmas gifts are all accompanied by blank thank-you notes that kids can fill out and return to their sponsors. When families come to pick up their gifts, they are also invited to bring small

donations of wipes, diaper cream, etc. “This gives them a way to contribute, too,” says Dolan.

“It’s optional, not conditional. And it’s very well received.”

As a charitable organization that was also started as a way to channel the grief for a lost loved one, EWE Spirit Foundation is proud to support Walk the Walk. We know that Geoff would have loved how it not only helps families in need, but also gives them the dignity to contribute to the community in their own ways.



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