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Conversations with Cori Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cori Smith.

Hi Cori, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I started Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry after dealing with a high-risk pregnancy and losing my job while on medical leave.

While searching for programs for expecting moms who were in need, I found that there was no support for low-income families who needed diapers. Federal programs such as WIC and SNAP/food stamps did not offer these services.

In 2014, she founded Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry, serving low-income families in Memphis and the Mid-South. Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry has provided diapers and other essential needs to families, distributing over ONE MILLION diapers to families in need.

My goal is to become a one-stop resource for families in need.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The journey has had its ups and downs. When I started Sweet Cheeks, I thought people would think I was crazy, like what do we need with this kind of organization but the exact opposite happened. From day one, my family, friends, and co-workers were supportive and were helping to get donations.

The organization was run from my garage and we were slowly making an impact in our city. We struggled to get funding, diaper need wasn’t something people had ever heard of or understood. In their minds, parents should be able to buy diapers. It wasn’t that simple! Then COVID came, which made an already tough situation worse. People were losing their jobs and what little income they were getting is now gone.

We decided to host our first diaper distribution to help the community. Prior to COVID, we were distributing 20,000 diapers annually. That day we distributed over 40,000 diapers, and families came from all over to receive help. Since then, our funding has increased and we have been able to distribute over ONE MIllion diapers to families.

We also added period supplies, formula, and adult incontinence supplies to our distribution because families were requesting these items monthly. Our current need is a warehouse space that can accommodate more donations, not having to turn down donations because we don’t have the space is an obstacle we’re trying to overcome.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Aside from founding Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry, I also work as a School Financial Secretary for Shelby County Schools. I have been there for 6 years and I love working with teachers and students.

I’m proud that I have been able to run my organization while having a full-time job. There are days when it’s stressful but I have a team that keeps me grounded.

What matters most to you? Why?
Family matters to me the most. If everything was to change tomorrow, I know my family will be there for me.

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Image Credits
MDS Production

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