Governor J.B. Pritzker has proclaimed the week of Sept. 27-Oct. 3 as National Diaper Need Awareness Week in Illinois. Evanston diaper pantry Bundled Blessings and six other nonprofit organizations across the State have joined forces and formed the Illinois Diaper Bank Coalition to focus on the problem.
The groups hope to raise awareness of unmet diaper needs and advocate for Illinois families. As part of his proclamation, Gov. Pritzker encouraged State residents to donate generously to diaper banks, diaper drives and organizations that collect and distribute diapers.
In addition to Bundled Blessings, an outreach program of the First United Methodist Church of Evanston, other Illinois members of the National Diaper Bank Network include: Covered Bottoms, Cradles to Crayons, Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois, Loving Bottoms Diaper Bank, Keeping Families Covered, and Share Our Spare. These organizations work together to provide clean diapers and other basic necessities babies need to thrive.
Diaper need – the lack of a sufficient amount of diapers to keep a baby clean, dry, and healthy – is a public health crisis, the organizations said in a joint news release.
Current public support programs help some, but young children have additional needs in order to build a strong foundation, achieve healthy growth and reach their full potential, the organizations said. Several states have removed taxes on diapers to reduce the financial burden, but Illinois is not one of them, the groups noted.
One in three families in the U.S. don’t have enough diapers, according to the National Diaper Bank Network. This deficiency makes it difficult to nurture happy and healthy babies and hinders parents’ ability to go to work and school. A study conducted by the network and diaper brand Huggies found that parents who struggled with diaper need missed an average of four days of work per month.
“Cradles to Crayons is proud to be part of this essential partnership to address this critical need that has gone unmet for far too long across our state,” Shoshana Buchholz-Miller, Cradles to Crayons Executive Director – Chicago, said in the joint news release. “In the past year, we’ve distributed nearly 8.3 million diapers across our Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia sites.”
Unmet diaper need is cited as the No. 1 mental health stressor for new parents, as most government assistance programs do not cover diapers. The organizations said diapers can cost an average family $70 to $80 per month per child, which is equal to about 14% of the monthly income of families experiencing poverty.
Source: Bundled Blessings, Illinois Diaper Bank Coalition