HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The cost of hygienic products is rising as availability continues to fall, meaning access to incontinence products is dwindling, especially for low-income and at-risk individuals.

Malissa Hendricks, a hospice nurse in Horry County, noticed the problem while working and taking care of her own mother. 

“I had to get a part-time job to cover my mom’s products, so I was working two jobs and taking care of her,” Hendricks said. “I wake up every day wishing I would’ve had more time to spend painting her nails or talking rather than chasing down diapers.”

That’s where the idea for Hendricks’ “Diaper Dan” nonprofit was born. Its mission is to make sure no one in the community goes without basic hygienic products because they cannot afford them. Diaper Dan provides everything from baby diapers to adult diapers and even menstrual products to low-income and at-risk individuals. 

Hendricks started Diaper Dan in November 2021, and the nonprofit continues to grow each day. 

“I just know that there are so many people out there that need help, so as great as it makes me feel to know we’re helping 150 families, I could easily have 150 more families tomorrow that need our help,” Hendricks said. “It’s just a matter of funding.”

As prices keep rising, funding becomes more important. Sometimes, Hendricks even uses her own money to buy the products.

She recently teamed up with the Horry County Memorial Library system, and there are now drop-off donation boxes at all library locations in the county. 

“People see our box in the library, and I may get one or two donations, but I get 20 more people asking for help,” Hendricks said. 

Even if money were not an issue, Hendricks said she desperately needs extra hands. She personally delivers packages to all 150 people she covers. 

“I even got pulled over and got a speeding ticket, and I’ve never had one my whole life,” Hendricks said. “Bless the trooper’s heart. He gave me a warning, so yeah, that’s when it’s time to slow down and get some help.”

Even though she still works a full-time job, she would not give up the long days and nights working on Diaper Dan. She said helping people means everything to her. 

“A big part of our mission is just giving dignity back to people,” Hendricks said. “If you’re sitting at home in your own mess, you’re not gonna go to the senior centers, you’re not gonna go to the store, and most people don’t want to talk about it because it’s embarrassing.”

Hendricks said it costs about $20 a month to sponsor a family. You can donate online at www.diaperdan.org.