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Facebook challenge collects thousands of diapers for Boone County food pantry

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CAPRON (WREX) — Rebeca Pozas issued a challenge to try and make a difference.

The Crusader Health outreach and community specialist took to Facebook Live, asking her friends to join her in a mass diaper donation to Empower Boone in Capron.

Pozas' connection to the Boone County food pantry started when she went there to confirm her employment.

She noticed immediately the hard work being put in there and wanted to do her part.

"They're always welcoming people. They're always saying 'what can we do to help the community,'" Pozas said.

"So I thought 'what could I do to help to them.'"

That help came in the form of diapers.

A lot of diapers.

Pozas reached out to her Facebook family asking for donations for Empower Boone's diaper drive.

Her call was answered in a big way.

Bigger than she ever imagined.

Thanks to Pozas' challenge, over 5,000 diapers were collected.

Many from her neighbors and Boone County residents, even coming all the way from Chicago to her doorstep.

"I've got my mail carrier dropping off the diapers and there were about 20 packages in that box," Pozas said.

"I am very appreciative of all my friends on Facebook."

It was a challenge in itself for Pozas to get all the diapers into her SUV to bring to the food pantry.

"She called us and she said 'I've got diapers to deliver to you. I have quite a few diapers.' I was expecting maybe 8 or 10 boxes diapers. She came in an SUV full of diapers. Completely full," Empower Boone director Brenda Valadez said.

Empower Boone is the largest food pantry in Boone County and one of only two that have stayed open throughout the pandemic.

"We want our message to be just neighbors helping neighbors. Community helping one another. Our focus is on Boone County but anyone can come to our pantry," Valadez said.

"Diapers are something food stamps cannot buy so any help that we can help our neighbors get is what we are trying to do."

The pantry has spent the entire month encouraging people to donate diapers to help those struggling.

Thanks to Pozas' donation, hundreds of families were able to get the help they need.

"Those diapers are all in big boxes here and get broken down into smaller packages so rather than give one box to one family we can break this down into 10 for 10 families to help serve them during this crisis and outside of COVID as well," Valadez said.

Pozas just wanted to set out to help the community, in particular the Hispanic community in the Capron area who are falling on tough times.

"We just wanted to help out a lot of those people who work in the fields with the pandemic and everything with work not at its best and they are struggling to get diapers," Pozas said.

"When I see the massive collection that we did I was impressed. I was happy my latino community stepped up and helped the community."

As large as the donation was, the diapers Pozas donated have already come and gone.

Empower Boone hopes Pozas' efforts can cause a chain reaction throughout the stateline for others to issue challenges of their own.

"If everyone stepped up and did their own challenge like Rebeca did, the volume that we would get to these neighbors in need," Valadez said.

"The parents who have children at home are needing extra food to feed them. The diapers for the babies. A lot of folks have been laid off from their jobs from the pandemic and they have no way to get these items."

Click here to find out more about Empower Boone and how you can donate to the food pantry.

Empower Boone is located at 200 S. 5th Street in Capron.

As always, we are looking for more people and organizations in our area who are trying to change it for the better.

If you know anyone trying to make a positive impact in the stateline, you can fill out a nomination form here or you can reach out directly to eleake@wrex.com.

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at eleake@wrex.com or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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