In 2011, our founders Ann Hinkfuss and Stephanie Bowers were part of a women’s mission trip to a shantytown in Peru called Pachacutec. One day they visited an adult child care facility and what they saw that day would change the trajectory of their lives.
They witnessed caregivers who cared for 15 babies and loved them very much. Unfortunately, they were forced to reuse disposable diapers because they had no other option. They had to make the difficult decision – food, water, shelter, or diapers.
Shortly after, Stephanie’s first son was born, named Jake. They used modern cloth diapers on him and decided to collect the cloth diapers he outgrew for those 15 babies and Jake’s Diapers was born.
Originally, Jake’s Diapers was created to help those 15 babies in Peru. Today, we’ve impacted over 63,000 lives in over 60 countries including their own Wisconsin backyard. In 2020, Jake’s saw explosive growth into various core hygiene programs including period products and adult incontinence products.
Our core programs naturally evolved to provide three areas of hygiene necessities: diapers, period products and adult care essentials (incontinence products). Sourcing, collecting, storing and distributing these items is no simple project. Over the years, we’ve mastered our skills in managing this product flow.
And then we noticed something else: where we had mastered skills as a nonprofit, our partners were struggling. Struggling to source basic needs items. Struggling to provide for the needs of the people they served while also maintaining a healthy organizational budget.
Our final evolution is developing My Neighbor Wisconsin, our program that provides a comprehensive array of basic needs at oftentimes only 10 to 20 percent of retail costs. This is a giant financial savings for our partners, as well as time savings; we charge nominal sharing fees for this work which covers our efforts and helps to fuel our hygiene programs. Its a win-win.