ST. CLOUD – Diapers and baby wipes are notoriously costly, and a local volunteer group organization is hoping to bring a little relief to families struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic slump.

Operation Baby New Year, which typically coordinates large-scale diaper drives in December, is partnering with Beaver Island Brewing Company Wednesday evening to host Operation Diaper Drop.

The plan: to give away beer in exchange for donations of diapers and baby wipes.

Jim Parsons, one of the event organizers, says the community need for baby supplies has become apparent during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The connection with COVID is, of course, the economy going in the tank, high unemployment and folks not being able to afford diapers,” he said. “I think that’s really driving the need locally.”

Each person who arrives at Beaver Island Brewery with a package of diapers or wipes will receive a free pint of beer. Volunteer Sarah Drake says there are also incentives for donors who might not feel comfortable hanging out at the brewery due to the coronavirus.

“Some people may not be comfortable staying there, even though there’s indoor and outdoor seating,” she said. “So, they can either have a free pint, or get $5 off a growler of beer.”

Drake says a dollar from the sale of each additional pint of beer will also support Operation Baby New Year.

In addition to diapers and wipes, Operation Baby New Year accepts cash donations to help underwrite bulk buys of diapers. The group isn’t meeting individual requests for diapers; they’ve partnered with area organizations that will distribute them to those in need.

A handful of area businesses will serve as drop-off spots for diaper and baby wipe donations through the end of August. They include:

  • Jules' Bistro - St. Cloud, MN
  • Beaver Island Brewing Company
  • Legal Aid - Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (St Cloud)
  • Little Caesars Pizza (St Cloud)
  • Little Caesars Pizza (Sartell)
  • Good Earth Food Coop

The donation drive will be held Wednesday, Aug. 19 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. To learn more about Operation Baby New Year’s efforts, visit their Facebook page.