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Charitable competition features ‘Game of Thrones’ castle, Griffith Observatory replicas made out of diaper boxes

A beach house, a castle, a miniature golf course, a lifeguard tower, an observatory and a jail — all made with diaper boxes — were among 10 structures on display at Angel Stadium June 21 for the Builders for Babies competition.

These architectural marvels, created mainly by homebuilders, were constructed in the parking lot using more than 410,000 diapers.

Best of Show went to Meritage Homes for its golf course, complete with a lighthouse and clock tower made from boxes containing 67,000 diapers.

A replica of the Griffith Observatory, constructed by National CORE, was built out of 103,300 diapers, the most of any structure on display.

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And a castle-themed throne titled “Game of Homes” was constructed with 24,100 diapers, earning The New Home Co. Best Imagination.

The event was the culmination of HomeAid Orange County’s month-long Essentials Diaper Drive.

By day’s end, more than 1.1 million diapers were collected — as well as baby food, wipes and other items — that will ultimately go to agencies that help families with young children who are experiencing homelessness.

A newborn goes through 4,320 diapers in a year, according to a 2017 study done by the National Diaper Bank Network. The same study identified more than 120,000 Orange County families living in poverty.

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Elizabeth Escobar, community outreach coordinator for Casa Theresa in Orange, a maternity shelter that serves pregnant homeless women, said the shelter depends almost exclusively on donated baby items — and HomeAid Orange County is one of the shelter’s largest sources of diapers.

“It’s an area of need for sure,” Escobar said. “It’s crucial. It’s the life beat of who we are as an organization. When these women are coming through our doors, they are already walking in with worries and one of the top worries is that ‘I don’t have anything for my baby. I have no diapers. I have no wipes. I have no maternity items.’ ”

As the charitable arm of the Orange County Chapter of the Building Industry Assn. of Southern California, HomeAid’s main mission is building housing for the county’s homeless population.

“We’re very community-based,” said Gina Scott, interim executive director. “We started here in Orange County 30 years ago, and we now we’ve got 20 chapters across the United States.”

“We’ve been very fortunate to do business with HomeAid for years, whether it’s diapers or helping them build homes,” said Mike Hoefnagels, vice president of Peterson Brothers Construction, a Brea-based concrete contractor, who dropped off 1,980 individual diapers. “I think it’s important to give back, especially right where you live.”

Companies from the building industry that participated in the Builders for Babies competition included Brookfield Residential, Lennar, Meritage Homes, National Core, The New Home Co., William Lyon Homes, DuPont Tyvek and the Greater Sales & Marketing Council.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department donates to the diaper drive each year but was displaying a structure for the first time.

That structure was an Old West-themed jail made with 9,000 diapers.

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“When something like this comes along, a worthwhile event which [collects] diapers for kids and families that need it, we jump right on it,” Orange County Sheriff Department Deputy Pete Chavez said. “For us to help out for that, it’s a no-brainer.”

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Lou Ponsi is a contributor to TimesOC. Follow him on Twitter at @L_Ponsi.

For more news and features about Orange County, visit TimesOC.com or follow us on Twitter @timesocofficial.


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