Of all the monthly gifts Puente could ask for, none are less glamorous than diapers. But for Léonie Walker, that may be part of the appeal. Puente’s resident “Diaper Donor” has single-handedly purchased diapers for Puente’s South Coast families for four years straight.
“It’s so much more fun to go out and buy diapers than it is to write a check,” enthuses Walker, who lives in Portola Valley with her spouse (and fellow Puente supporter) Dr. Kate O’Hanlan.
Walker makes one trip per month to Costco to purchase a load of diapers, which are delivered to Puente.
Diapers are expensive, even at Costco. Walker’s extraordinary generosity tallies $5,000 per year – that’s $20,000 for four years of diaper runs. She also makes occasional financial contributions to Puente.
Walker and O’Hanlon have a long history of philanthropy. They have a donor advised fund at Horizons Foundation and give generously to organizations that focus on LGBT human rights and the rights of women and girls. Walker is a past member of the Board of Directors of Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and The Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York.
But the work they do for Puente feels different, says Walker.
“Puente feels closer and more connected to me than the organizations we support in different cities. We feel like we’re making a visceral difference,” she says.
They are, says Puente Executive Director Kerry Lobel.
“Kate and Léonie are a steady presence in the lives of hundreds of children who will never know their names,” attests Lobel. “For Léonie, the diapers are a meditation, a belief that one simple gesture, repeated over and over again, can literally bring comfort to those she will never meet.”
Walker is a longtime friend of Lobel’s and she takes the time to endorse Puente at every opportunity – even in the checkout line when she’s buying diapers.
“Somebody will give me a look and say, ‘Do you run a daycare center?’ – and I get to tell them about Puente,” laughs Walker. “I’ve had people hand me a twenty and say, ‘This is for the organization.”
To make a donation to Puente, contact Kerry Lobel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650.879.1691 x144.