A growing grassroots movement taking shape throughout the country is focused on one of the most basic needs of infants and toddlers…diapers. More specifically, the issue is “diaper need,” the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep a baby clean, dry and healthy.
In fact, one in three American families reports struggling with diaper need, a hidden consequence of poverty.
For the third consecutive year, Diaper Need Awareness Week scheduled for September 8 – 14, 2014 will draw attention to the issue and prompt individuals, organizations, diaper banks, communities and elected officials to take action and help get diapers to babies who need them.
To date, governors and state legislatures in 16 states-Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin-along with nearly 60 mayors and county supervisors throughout the country, have recognized Diaper Need Awareness Week via official proclamations. More are expected to announce support throughout the week.
Many people are unaware that government assistance programs-such as food stamps and WIC-do not provide funding for diapers, a basic necessity for babies. There are currently 5.6 million infants and toddlers living in low-income families, many of whom face a daily struggle to secure a necessary supply of diapers.
A signature initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN), Diaper Need Awareness Week features a range of activities focused on diaper need and its prevalence in communities across the country. The week is fueled by the grassroots efforts of NDBN’s more than 210 member diaper banks. The website DiaperNeed.org provides updates on local and statewide events and activities related to diaper need, as well as how individuals and organizations can become involved, ranging from hosting a diaper drive to using the hashtag #DiaperNeed in social media. To promote the usage of the hashtag, NDBN’s founding sponsor Huggies®, will donate diapers to babies in need for every post with #DiaperNeed.
“Millions of families struggle every day to provide an adequate supply of diapers for their children, and that is unacceptable,” said Joanne Goldblum, founder and executive director of the National Diaper Bank Network.
“Diaper Need Awareness week recognizes that small things, diapers, affect big things, including a families physical, mental and economic well-being. Diapers matter. And, for families in need, diaper banks frequently provide the only resources available to help moms, dads, grandparents and others obtain the diapers they need to keep a child clean, dry and healthy.”
Diaper banks help address diaper need by collecting, storing and distributing free diapers to families experiencing financial hardship. While they range in size and scope, diaper banks obtain diapers through local diaper drives, in-kind donations by manufacturers and retailers, and by purchasing diapers directly with donated funds. Diaper banks distribute disposable and/or cloth diapers.
The National Diaper Bank Network supports diaper banks by raising awareness of diaper need, providing technical assistance to help existing and new diaper banks, and distributing diapers and funding for diaper banks to supply families in need. Since opening in 2011, NDBN in conjunction with its founding sponsor Huggies® has distributed nearly 60 million diapers to families in need via its network of diaper banks and community partners.
Individuals and organizations can get involved in Diaper Need Awareness Week in the following ways:
- Donate to a Diaper Bank
As nonprofit organizations, diaper banks rely on the generosity of the community for financial and diaper donations. A directory of local diaper banks is maintained by the National Diaper Bank Network on its website www.nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org.
- Use #DiaperNeed in Social Media
Fans of social media-Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other social platforms-can share experiences and raise online awareness of diaper need by using the hashtag #DiaperNeed. Follow the National Diaper Bank Network on Twitter (@DiaperNetwork) and Facebook (facebook.com/nationaldiaperbanknetwork).
- Host a Diaper Drive
Make an impact in your community by holding a diaper drive to benefit a local diaper bank or agency. The DiaperNeed.org website features a guide on how to hold a diaper drive, located under “Take Action” button.
About the National Diaper Bank Network: The National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) is a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that every child in the U.S. has enough diapers to be clean, dry & healthy. Founded in 2011, the network raises awareness of diaper need (#DiaperNeed) and supports the development and expansion of diaper banks in communities throughout the country. Its active membership includes more than 200 diaper banks, diaper closets and food banks located in 44 states and the District of Columbia. More information on NDBN and diaper need is available at www.nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org, and on Twitter (@DiaperNetwork) andFacebook (facebook.com/NationalDiaperBankNetwork).