WAUKEGAN – Gov. JB Pritzker has proclaimed the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 as National Diaper Need Awareness Week in the state.
Seven nonprofit organizations across Illinois have joined forces and formed an Illinois Diaper Bank Coalition to bring awareness to unmet diaper need and advocate for families across the state. As part of his proclamation, Pritzker encourages residents to donate generously to diaper banks, diaper drives and organizations that collect and distribute diapers to families struggling with diaper need so that all of Illinois’ children and families can thrive.
Members of the National Diaper Bank Network are Bundled Blessings, Covered Bottoms, Cradles to Crayons, Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois, Loving Bottoms Diaper Bank, Keeping Families Covered and Share Our Spare. These Illinois organizations work together to ensure that all babies have access to clean diapers and other basic necessities.
“We are grateful for this partnership and the opportunity to expand awareness of our mission and, as a result, help lay the foundation for a resilient and equitable community,” said Alex Goodfellow, executive director of Share Our Spare. “For the past 10 years, Share Our Spare has been committed to ensuring our future generation, children ages 0-5, has the essentials they need to thrive. Together, we are strengthening people to overcome challenging circumstances, gain upward mobility and attain prosperity.”
Diaper need is a public health crisis and defined as a lack of a sufficient amount of diapers to keep a baby clean, dry and healthy. Children experiencing poverty are at greatest risk of suffering from the effects of diaper need simply because many of these families can’t afford diapers.
“The proclamation for National Diaper Need Awareness Week is so important to The Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois,” the Rev. Phyllis Mueller said in a news release. “It will help us continue our mission of providing diapers to both children and adults who need assistance with diaper care but have nowhere else to turn.”
Public support programs help some young children, and several states have advocated with legislation to remove taxes on diapers to reduce the burden. Illinois is not one of those states.
One in three families in the U.S. experiences unmet diaper need, which affects their ability to nurture happy and healthy babies, according to the National Diaper Bank Network.
Unmet diaper need is cited as the No. 1 mental health stressor for new parents as most government assistance programs do not cover diapers. Diapers can cost an average family $70 to $80 a month per child, which is about 14% of the monthly income of families experiencing poverty.
Without diapers, babies cannot participate in early education programs, which inhibits many parents from going to work. A study conducted by the National Diaper Bank Network and Huggies found that parents who struggled with diaper need missed an average of four days of work a month.