This month, the Central Arkansas Diaper Bank marks its fifth year of providing free diapers to the community. The first diaper drive in 2018 started as a way for Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church to support its sister daycare at St. Luke Learning Center. After bringing in 12,000 diapers, organizers Allyson Pittman Gattin and Erin Hawley Newbolt realized they were only scratching the surface of a deeper need (an estimated one in three families struggle with diaper insecurity) and decided to launch the Diaper Bank.
Just last year, the volunteer-run bank distributed 157,290 diapers to 534 children in 364 families, and is on track to surpass those numbers for 2023. Families can register online for what they need, and diapers are distributed the first Wednesday of every month.
"From our humble beginnings as a church diaper drive to the community resource we've become today, our progression over the last five years was entirely driven by the community's compassion and collective goodwill," Gattin says. "Today, instead of relying on an insulated group, we receive community-wide support, including this month's Spirit of Arkansas Diaper Drive with KATV and Edward's Food Giant. We are forever grateful for this support as it allows us to continue serving more families across central Arkansas!"
Learn more at phumc.com/diaperbank.
GIVING, GRANTS & hIGH PRAISE
• Over the summer, the annual THV11 Summer Cereal Drive brought in a grand total of 228,441 boxes of cereal that will feed thousands of children across the state through the Arkansas Foodbank.
• Artist Katie Wilson received a grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance to support her work on The Recovery Mural Project, a collaborative mural with Matt McLeod at the Natural State Recovery Centers.
• Little Rock nonfiction writer and editor Jay Jennings, whose work includes "Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City," has been awarded the 2023 Porter Fund Literary Prize.
• UAMS received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a three-year project examining the impact of school meal availability on the mental and behavioral health of children. The NIH awarded UAMS another $1.6 million to continue a 14-year effort researching pathogen-borne diseases.
In honor of its 20th anniversary next year, the Clinton Presidential Center will undergo a "major expansion" led by the Clinton Foundation. The project will "enhance the Clinton Center's ability to host exhibitions, convene global leaders and provide educational opportunities," and will include the new Hillary Rodham Clinton Institute, which will host her personal archives and "serve as a hub for her nonprofit and advocacy work." The design will be led by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang, who recently completed the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts and will partner with Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects.
After opening its doors in 1877, Philander Smith College reached a monumental milestone last month to become Philander Smith University, one of only two historically Black colleges and universities in the state and Little Rock's first.
• Hana Mariah Hatta is the new executive director of Arkansans for the Arts.
• The Arkansas Foodbank has hired Ebony Mitchell as director of external affairs.
• At UA Little Rock, Colin Crawford has been hired as the new dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law, while Joli Livaudais has been named the interim director of the School of Art and Design.