NEW HAVEN, Conn., Sept. 26, 2016 — The fifth annual Diaper Need Awareness Week (Sept. 26 – Oct. 2) kicks off today to draw attention to the issue of diaper need, and to prompt individuals, organizations, diaper banks, communities and elected officials to take action and help meet one of the most basic needs of every infant and toddler…clean diapers.
Governors and state legislatures in 32 states, along with 91 mayors and county supervisors throughout the country, have recognized the week via official proclamations, letters of support, and/or special events [a full list of proclamations is available at www.diaperneed.org].
Diaper need is the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep a baby clean, dry and healthy. One in three American families reports struggling with diaper need, a hidden consequence of poverty.
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 320 member diaper banks, as well as support by NDBN founding sponsor Huggies® and other partner organizations, including AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses).
“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 chief executive officer of the National Diaper Bank Network.
“Diaper Need Awareness week recognizes that small things, diapers, affect big things, including a family’s 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 clean diapers needed to keep a child healthy.”
To date, governors and/or state legislatures from the following states have recognized Diaper Need Awareness Week in 2016: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
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 5.3 million infants and toddlers living in low-income families, many of whom face a daily struggle to secure a necessary supply of diapers. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the poorest 20 percent of Americans who buy diapers spend nearly 14 percent of their post tax income on diapers.
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 the bulk purchase of 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 more than 160 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 eliminating diaper need in America, by leading a national movement to safeguard one of the most basic needs of all babies and their families…access to clean, dry diapers. Founded in 2011 with the support of Huggies®, the network raises national 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 320 diaper banks, diaper closets and food banks located in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. More information on NDBN and diaper need is available at nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org, and on Twitter (@DiaperNetwork) and Facebook (facebook.com/NationalDiaperBankNetwork).