Diaper drive goes virtual

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MADISON COUNTY — United Way of Madison County’s annual month-long diaper drive is operating online through May 31.

“As I reached out to local organizations that distribute diapers to families, they couldn’t express enough how grateful they are for this Community Diaper Drive. Families need all the help they can get right now,” said Kim Rogers-Hatfield, vice president of engagement with United Way of Madison County. “That’s why we moved the Community Diaper Drive from in-person to virtual this year.”

The drive has taken place each May since 2014, helping to provide diapers to baby pantries across the county and Middletown.

Normally, the drive partners with local businesses and churches to collect diapers, according to a press release about the effort.

The drive is online this year because of COVID-19.

Diapers are one of the most expensive ongoing costs for struggling families with young children, the release says.

Data collected by the United Way indicates 40% of families in Madison County struggle to make ends meet on a weekly basis during normal times, the release says.

"Add in the financial impact of COVID-19 on those families, and it is easy to realize that we have a growing number of families in the coming months that will not be able to pay their bills and affording basic needs like diapers will be a huge challenge," the release states. "They will have to rely on local baby pantries to help them meet their diaper needs."

Other data highlighted in the release includes:

• 36% of parents living in poverty routinely run out of diapers for their infants and toddlers.

• Babies who remain in dirty diapers for prolonged periods experience diaper rash, infections and other health problems.

• Diapers cannot be obtained with food stamps.

• Disposable diapers cost $70 to $80 per month per baby.

• No state or federal child safety-net program allocates dollars specifically for the purchase of diapers.

• Infants require up to 12 diapers per day, toddlers about 8.

Last year’s drive distributed more than 33,000 diapers to nine baby pantries in Anderson, Alexandria, Frankton, Lapel and Elwood. All donations this year will go to those local pantries.

People can purchase diapers on United Way’s Diaper Drive Wish List on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2Soc1kO. People can pick from the wish list, pay online and the diapers will be delivered to United Way for distribution to local baby pantries.

For more details, call 765-643-7493.