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More families struggle to afford diapers during pandemic, diaper banks offer some relief

Posted at 4:17 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 19:05:33-04

Since the pandemic started, more families are struggling to afford diapers, and resources known as diaper banks see that growing strain firsthand.

"If you need to choose, you're probably going to choose food over diapers for your family," said Marge Voight.

It is an impossible choice that a rising number of families face since the arrival of COVID-19.

"We saw a huge increase. The first month of COVID we increased about 100 clients because even the working poor who really wouldn't have always qualified, qualified because they didn't have a job," said Voight, Coordinator for the BabyCare Diaper Bank of the Sheboygan Evangelical Free Church.

As part of the National Diaper Bank Network, they provide free diapers for low-income families. Referred clients can come by once a month on a Thursday to stock up.

"We have some families before we start helping them who will actually use take diapers when it's wet take it off, let it dry, and put it back on because they don't have any other diapers," said Voight.

Many consider diapers essential, but the National Diaper Bank Network reports pre-pandemic 1 in 3 American families said they lack a sufficient supply of diapers to keep a child clean, dry, and healthy.

"Diapers are certainly expensive and limited budget so she sends me here," said David Van Dixhorn, who stopped by the BabyCare Diaper Bank for his daughter's kids.

This location serves 50 families or more each Thursday.

"It's more like a safety net because you know like you said a lot of people have lost their jobs in this unfortunate pandemic, but at the same time it's nice to have somewhere where you know that you can get the things that you need," said Jamece Yancey, a mother of two young children.

The rising need is not confined to Sheboygan.

The Walworth County Food Pantry also manages a diaper bank with the national network. In 2019, leaders there say they provided diapers for 250 families. Since February 2020, they have added 100 families.

"I think the ministry of volunteers is so vital especially now with the epidemic it just does your heart good to see people who are willing to go out of their way," said David.

If you would like to help diaper banks say monetary donations work best. It allows them to get the sizes they need, and they can purchase diapers and pull-ups at a discount.

Information to reach local diaper banks is below.

BabyCare Diaper Bank of Sheboygan Evangelical Free Church
1514 N. Saemann Avenue
(920) 207-0515

Walworth County Food and Diaper Bank

Care Net Pregnancy Center of Milwaukee

Head to the National Diaper Bank Network website to find other locations throughout Wisconsin.

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