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Pantries are always grateful for donations, but some items are met with more enthusiasm.

Diapers are one of those items

“We would love to get them,” Gary Davidson of the Ozark Food Pantry told Festus. “We get calls all the time asking us about them. “

The National Diaper Bank Network will observe National Diaper Awareness Week from September 27 to October 31. 3, to draw attention to the need for diapers and other hygiene products across the country.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, nearly 15% of U.S. children lived in poverty in 2019 (the most recent year for which U.S. Census poverty data is available). In Missouri, the number is closer to 20 percent.

For the families of these children, the cost of diapers is a huge burden. Diapers must be provided at most daycare centers, and if parents cannot afford them, they cannot go to work. Lack of adequate diapers can also prevent children from participating in early education programs such as Head Start.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that families spend around $ 936 per year on disposable diapers, and the high cost can lead to less frequent changes, which can lead to diaper rashes and other health issues.

This is where layer banks come in.

NDBN has over 200 member banks, distributing over 64 million diapers per year. Countless other local food banks collect and distribute them as well, but the need remains.

Food programs

does not cover diapers

Three common assistance programs are available to low-income families.

Most important is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which offers benefits via an electronic benefit transfer card that can be used to purchase food at most retail stores.

The Missouri Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program provides food stamps or electronic cards to pregnant women and families with children under 5. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) uses grant funds to provide families with financial assistance and support.

Of the three, TANF is the only one whose funds can be used to purchase diapers. But even these funds are precious.

“Nationwide, only 23 percent of families living below the federal poverty line receive cash assistance through the TANF,” the National Diaper Bank Network website states.

“In 13 states, fewer than 10 in 100 poor families receive cash assistance, and the funds they receive typically go towards paying rent, utility bills, clothing, etc., and often do not cover as well. the purchase of diapers.

Local sources of help

HEROES Care in Fenton is the only organization in Jefferson County listed as a member of the National Diaper Bank Network, but there are many pantries and programs across the county that offer help.

The Cedar Hill Peace Pantry is part of the St. Louis Diaper Bank, which receives funding from the Jefferson Memorial Foundation to help families in Jefferson County, said Linda Schroeder, president of the pantry. “We pay a nominal fee to be a part of it, and we collect and distribute diapers for them.”

Schroeder said the St. Louis bank program allocates 25 diapers per month for pregnant women and 50 per month for each baby or toddler. The Peace Pantry relies on donations to fill the need.

“In August, we served 682 people in 307 families,” said Schroeder. “Of these, 67 were children under 6 years old. Obviously, 50 diapers isn’t enough for a month, so we’re lucky to have people bring them on every week. Unfortunately, we rarely get sizes bigger, and that’s what people really need.

Louise Sardo, director of the Jefferson County Rescue Mission in Pevely, said even families without babies have a need.

“Adult diapers are even more expensive than baby diapers. ” she said. “People are embarrassed to ask for them. “

Local groups are working together to provide diapers for families in need.

“We share any extras we have with the Disability Resource Association,” Sardo said. “The very little ones that we receive, we usually give them to the Hand ‘n Hand Pregnancy help center. “

Schroeder said St. Louis Bank is joining forces to streamline collection and distribution. “I take a van into downtown St. Louis and collect supplies for us and several other organizations,” she said. “Then they come here to take theirs.

It’s all about networking.

Each local pantry and assistance agency will gladly accept donated diapers or the money to purchase them.

Davidson said people are generous with other donations; maybe they just need to be made aware of that particular need. “I don’t think people realize diapers would be a good gift,” he said. “But, like I said, they would be a boon to the families we serve.”

The National Diaper Bank Network encourages local agencies to explore membership, which includes advocacy tools to help raise awareness; resources to assist with collection and distribution; access to grants; and bulk diaper purchase programs.

To find out more, visit the online network:

nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org.

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Julio V. Miller

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