Diaper need is a growing problem impacting parents across the country, including right here in Northwest Ohio. As diaper prices continue to surge, nearly one in two families cannot afford enough diapers for their children. Thanks to the Junior League of Toledo and their community partners, resources are available for parents to help keep their infant or child clean, dry, and healthy.
A Growing Crisis
Clean diapers are a basic need of every baby and toddler. However, recent data from the National Diaper Bank Network shows that an increased number of families struggle to afford enough diapers for their children.
These babies are vulnerable to diaper rash and urinary tract infections and often have more trips to the doctor. Parents may have to miss work or school because they cannot afford the supply of diapers required to leave their baby in childcare. Women who have diaper needs for their children often struggle with postpartum depression, trauma and difficulties with stress management, all factors impacting a child’s health and development.
Helping Families in the Toledo area
The Junior League of Toledo’s diaper bank, As We Grow, addresses the diaper need in Lucas County. As We Grow distributes diapers, wipes, and creams directly to community partners that are best equipped to provide the supplies to families that need it most. The As We Grow diaper bank started in December 2020 and to date, they have donated 138,926 diapers to families in need.
“The Junior League of Toledo is involved with many community projects, but we identified such a need in the community for parents requiring diapers for their children,” shared Colleen Lavoy, As We Grow project chair. “Diapers and wipes are not covered under programs like WIC, so it can become a real stressor for families to keep their children in clean, dry diapers.”
The Junior League partners with social service agencies and other community partners to distribute the diapers and supplies to families in need. Current community partners include the Getting to One, the Parent Empowerment Institute, and Paramount.
Through the Getting to One program, the Salvation Army provides diapers to more than 300 babies/toddlers in Lucas County each month. Diapers can be requested once families are connected with a community health worker. Diapers are distributed at The Salvation Army location on Erie St. and families can call 419-241-1138 for more information.
“We as a community don’t realize how important something as simple as a package of diapers can be in the life of a child,” shared Elizabeth Schwandt, Salvation Army operations manager. “It can be life changing!”
Diapers are also available as part of the Parent Empowerment Institute, a community outreach program through Lucas County Children Services.
“We host free parenting classes within the community,” shared Andrea Sims, Parent Empowerment Institute coordinator. “Any parent or caregiver who attends our parenting group has access to the diapers. There is no proof of income necessary to get the diapers. Our groups are held weekly and there are diapers available at every group meeting.”
The weekly parenting groups are held at multiple locations within the community including Wayman Palmer YMCA, East Toledo Family Center, Grace Community Center, Family House Shelter, and The Greenbelt Apartment’s Community Room. Parenting classes are free to families in Lucas County, and all are welcome to attend. To learn more about the classes call Andrea Sims at 419-213-3383.
Interested in Helping?
The As We Grow program is supported by corporate and individual donations as well as diaper drives held throughout the year. Diaper collection boxes can often be found throughout the community and virtual diaper drives allow people to easily make a monetary donation to this worthy cause.
“As a partner with the National Diaper Bank Network we are able to get a discount on bulk diaper orders,” Colleen shared. “Therefore, it is most cost effective for people to donate directly to the As We Grow diaper bank.”
Donations can be made at juniorleaguetoledo.org. If you are interested in hosting a diaper drive, making a corporate contribution, have diapers to donate, or want to learn more about the As We Grow program contact the Junior League of Toledo at 419-474-6262, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit juniorleaguetoledo.org