Diaper Bank of North Carolina Among 7 Organizations To Receive First-Ever Federal Funding For Diaper Distribution
According to a 2020 report by the National Diaper Bank Network, as many as 1 in 3 families nationwide is struggling to provide clean diapers for their children. The cost of diapers is especially challenging for families experiencing poverty (sometimes adding up to 14-16% of a person’s total income if they are making federal minimum wage) and public safety net programs, including WIC and SNAP, do not cover the cost. The Diaper Bank of North Carolina, a United Way-funded nonprofit partner, has covered the gap for nearly 10 years and distributed close to 20 million diapers statewide since 2013.
Now they’re getting ready to do even more. Thanks to the first-ever federally funded initiative for diaper distribution programs, the Diaper Bank of North Carolina, in partnership with the North Carolina Community Action Association, is receiving $1.2 million to expand distribution and support to families in need. They’re one of only 7 recipients nationwide.
Beyond expanding services into North Carolina’s tier one counties, which have the highest poverty rates along with the lowest available resources, the Diaper Bank of North Carolina intends to use these funds to regularly distribute more diapers. Their eventual goal is to give each family all the diapers they need for each month.
“Based on our research, 76% of families that receive products from the Diaper Bank are working 1 to 3 jobs and still can’t afford basic needs including diapers and period products,” said Michelle Old, Founder and Executive Director of Diaper Bank of North Carolina. “Imagine what more they could do if they had those covered.”
Diaper Bank of North Carolina’s team has been campaigning with the National Diaper Bank Network for years to get to this place. Together, the organizations worked with Senator Thom Tillis’ office, to confirm his position as one of the first Republican leaders signed to the bill.
Independent of this federal funding, the Diaper Bank of North Carolina is more than just committed to serving families in need. They have a PhD researcher on staff who’s responsible for analyzing just how much the need for diapers, along with an adequate supply of diapering products, affects the livelihood of the families and areas they serve.
“We are the leading diaper bank in research. We’ve published several papers but two are groundbreaking in the sense that diaper banks use them across the country,” explains Old.
The Diaper Bank of North Carolina’s latest research looked at food deserts in Durham, North Carolina – specifically census tracts with median household incomes ≤ 200% of the poverty guideline – with the goal of documenting what retail options families with low incomes would have for purchasing diapers in the communities in which they live. What they found was that families in these areas had less access to stores with an adequate range of diaper products and when the products were available, the options were more expensive than options available to families that have the means or transportation to travel to big box retailers.
To learn more about Diaper Bank of North Carolina and support their mission, visit www.ncdiaperbank.org.