The ride may be over, but the journey has just begun. Alison Weir, Program Director for the National Diaper Bank Network, took Pam and me on a fascinating and educational trip into the heart of government today. Because of my ride, Alison was able to make 6 appointments in Washington, DC to talk about the need for diapers in this country. Alison was excited about two of the visits because the only reason she could even make the appointments was because of my ride. And what an education for me. I simply shared the reason I embarked on this journey and some observations about the acute need for diapers that is present throughout this country. The need is much more than the private sector can handle though the diaper banks are crucial in helping many families who need assistance.
We began the day by going to the National Women’s Law Center whose mission is to protect the progress of women and girls in every aspect of their lives. We spent the most time at this appointment as they became more interested in helping solve the problem of getting diapers to families the more they learned about the issue. They gave Alison names of contacts who might help with one aspect or the other in solving the issue. Alison was grateful for the information as we headed to the next appointment at First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. They gave additional insights into possibilities of creating changes in policy to benefit the families I’ve been riding to help. We then traveled to Capitol Hill where we met with the staff of Senator Gillibrand of New York, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, and Congressman Rehberg of Montana. In some instances we were able to educate about this issue while others who already knew about it gave us updates on what was in the works for the future. We finished the day at Zero To Three, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families. They were very interested in the ride and wanted more data about the need for diapers across the country.
As I reflect on the day, I am humbled by the people who have made it their life’s work to advocate for those who have no voice. In many ways I saw Matthew 25 in action today with more passion and persistence than I have ever previously seen. Alison is an amazing advocate for these infants and toddlers. She is an engineer with a PhD in early American literature who then received her law degree at Gerogetown University while working at the Pentagon as the speech writer for the Chief of Staff. After she retired from the US Air Force she worked for a law firm where she discovered the needs of those in poverty. She left the law firm to work for the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) to pursue her passion to help those in need. She asked me why I left medicine to become a pastor. I told her for similar reasons she had just given for leaving her law firm to work for the NDBN. God brought us together on this day to work on His mission in the world.
I am so glad I responded to His call into ministry and then His call to take this ride. And what a ride it has been. Now He’s calling me to chronicle this journey in a book with the proceeds to go for this diaper ministry. And so the journey begins!