TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Diapers are the latest item added to the list of products in a shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, one in three families are experiencing diaper need.
The pandemic impacted the production and price of the products, making it increasingly difficult for families to find and afford diapers. According to the NDBN, government programs like food stamps and WIC don't provide funding for diapers. But diaper needs impact the physical and mental well being of children and families, NDBN reports.
The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona is helping fill this need. Volunteers bundle packages of diapers and then distribute them to their community partners. They distribute 1.3 million diapers per year. They also provide adult diapers and period products for the community.
The bank estimates that the need for diapers in southern Arizona is seven million diapers each year.
“The people that come to us aren’t looking for a month’s supply of diapers, they are looking to get through the emergency they’re in," Elisabeth Monsma, the bank's volunteer coordinator, said.
Monsma said this work impacts the community in ways people don't even realize. The National Diaper Bank Network reports
helping the community in this way is satisfying work, bringing joy to both volunteers and the families that are in need. For volunteer Susan Meere, this is a cause close to her heart.
“This is a way that I know that I’m helping mothers like me," Meere said.
She said she once experienced the struggle to afford things like diapers for her four children.
“It was hard to afford anything and there wasn’t anything at that time for mothers like me,” she said.
When she first began volunteering at the diaper bank, Meere said there was a family parked outside in desperate need of diapers.
"They were probably parked in the lot before I got there," Meere said.
She said they walked up to the bank and said they had absolutely no diapers. The diaper bank's manager gave them a month's worth of diapers.
"They took those diapers and immediately went to their car and changed their baby," Meere said.
The diaper bank is always looking for donations and volunteers as well as people interested in becoming ambassadors.
"The joy comes from when people discover that it feels so good to do good," Monsma said. "When we distribute, we think who those people are that we are giving it to... it's really meaningful work."
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