Haiti relief work: old t-shirts upcycled into cloth diapers

Via a post on Facebook, I learned there was a small group of people in my community making a trip down to Haiti to bring goods and do relief work. Among other things, their goal is to stuff their checked baggage with 1,000 cloth diapers and diaper pins for the babies.

What stood out for me about this great cause was that the group is making the cloth diapers from old t-shirts! You know the stained, ripped tees you have been meaning to get rid of? Turns out, old t-shirts can easily be upcycled into cloth diapers!

Disposable diapers generally are used by families living in tents because they have no access to water for washing and reusing the diapers. The group is collecting disposable diapers to bring to Haiti as well. But the cloth diapers will be distributed to people who can wash and reuse them when there are not enough disposable diapers to go around. Without the cloth diapers, many babies will go without diapers until more disposable diapers are distributed.

Check out this video for a glimpse of some of the relief work and diaper distribution going on in Haiti.

I decided to get involved by collecting t-shirts from my friends, family and co-workers and then cutting the t-shirts into the right shape so that someone with better domestic skills can sew them into diapers. I've had an overwhelming number of friends bring me their old t-shirts. Special thanks to Liza Yowell, Matt Jones, Rhonda Broom, Frank Wright, Sarah Cunningham, Heather Kilby Sanchez and Roger Rogerson for donating your old tees!

How can you help?

If you live near Kill Devil Hills, N.C., or Norfolk, Va., I'll be collecting old t-shirts for another week and you can contact me to drop them by. Screen printed tees of any color and any adult size will work just fine. You also can donate packages of disposable diapers and wipes.

If you don't live nearby, unfortunately, it's cost-prohibitive for me to collect your t-shirts because the monetary and environmental costs of delivering or mailing the shirts would be greater than the value of the diapers created by them. Still, I have had a lot of friends learn about this effort and want to help out. Another idea is to donate to a Haiti relief organization. I realize it's not as hands on as cleaning out your closet and collecting t-shirts, but a $5 donation would have the same impact.

For more information about the OBX Haiti Relief effort, check out the group's Facebook Page OBX Haiti.