What began with a small group of like-minded civic leaders who collected and gave out free diapers to struggling families in their local communities is now the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN). Recognized as the foremost authority on diaper need in America, NDBN leads a national movement to address the lack of material basic needs among children and families living in poverty.
NDBN and its more than 200 member diaper bank programs distributed more than 68 million donated diapers last year.
Without clean diapers:
babies are exposed to potential health risks and toxic stress;
mothers are at risk for increased maternal depression;
parents are unable to access child care, which require a daily supply of diapers; and,
parents miss work or school.
NDBN began operation in 2011, following a series of meetings between the founders of what is today The Diaper Bank of Connecticut (North Haven, Conn.), WestSide Baby (Seattle), Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona (Tucson), and St. Paul Diaper Bank Partnership (McHenry, Ill.), and members of the Huggies® Leadership Team. Together they formed the National Diaper Bank Network.
NDBN’s initial mission was to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of diaper need, to help new and existing diaper banks grow to meet the needs of local communities, and to secure resources that help get diapers to babies in need.
As the founding sponsor of the National Diaper Bank Network, Huggies continues its support to help end diaper need through its No Baby Unhugged® campaign. Each year, Huggies donates more than 20 million diapers to NDBN and its member diaper bank programs. To date, Huggies has donated more than 250 million diapers and wipes to support families throughout the country who struggle with diaper need.
The diaper bank movement of today includes more than 200 member diaper bank programs assisting families in 50 U.S. states, and the District of Columbia.
Beginnings of the Diaper Bank Movement
The genesis of the diaper bank movement extends back to 1994, when Resolve, Inc., a small consulting firm in Tucson, Arizona, held a diaper drive during the holiday season to assist a local crisis nursery.
Encouraged by the enthusiastic response, and the subsequent demand for emergency diaper assistance, the firm gained an understanding of how the community could come together and help solve a simple problem. The executives at Resolve made the December Diaper Drive an annual tradition, and within five years they were collecting 300,000 diapers during the drive and distributing the diapers to families at 30 local social service agencies. In 2000, the diaper drive effort was spun off into an independent nonprofit organization, the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, the nation’s first diaper bank.
In 2004, Joanne Samuel Goldblum, a social worker in New Haven, Conn., adopted the Arizona model to found The Diaper Bank (today known as The Diaper Bank of Connecticut) in response to the desperate need for diapers that she witnessed in her work with impoverished families. Like many others since, Joanne created and operated the fledgling organization from her home. Subsequently, The Diaper Bank grew and became the nation’s largest diaper bank program. Today, The Diaper Bank of Connecticut distributes more than 2.5 million clean diapers annually to struggling families throughout central and southern Connecticut.
The success of these two diaper bank programs inspired similar efforts throughout the country. With growing awareness of diaper need, small but passionate groups of people responded. Some groups held diaper drives, others went on to found independent diaper banks in their respective communities.
Today, NDBN-member diaper bank programs and the diaper bank movement reflect the diversity that is the United States. The diaper bank movement is nonpolitical and welcomes people and groups of all political persuasions. Many programs operate and receive support from places of worship, others are run by civic and philanthropic groups, and some are extensions of existing poverty-related relief agencies and organizations. All are committed to collecting, warehousing, and distributing diapers to children and families struggling with diaper need.