Staff report

Diaper Drive

Photo contributed

The Junior League of Champlain Valley (JLCV) distributed its Diaper Bank’s 450,000th diaper to partner agencies statewide this week, and raised just over $5,800 in its JLCV Community Challenge in this week alone.

In fall 2018, the JLCV established Chittenden County’s first Diaper Bank and began distributing diapers on a bi-monthly basis to local food shelves in Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties from its South Burlington headquarters. In 2019, the Diaper Bank became Vermont’s first National Diaper Bank Network affiliate and fulfilled its goal to distribute 100,000 diapers annually.​

Since March 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Diaper Bank has more than quadrupled its annual distributions with 450,000 diapers (and counting) and increased its distribution footprint to 13 of the state’s 14 counties. The Diaper Bank has been able to meet this need thanks in part to $50,000 in CARESAct funding from the state.

“We are thrilled that as a 100% volunteer-based organization, the JLCV has been able to provide an essential service like diapers during these challenging times” said Amanda Herzberger, chair of the JLCV Diaper Bank. Before COVID-19, 1 in 3 U.S. families struggled with diaper need. Now that many parents can’t go to work or school, and in many cases earn an income, there is increased demand for diapers across the state.

It can cost approximately $75 per month to diaper a child, and no state or federal subsidy program currently allocates dollars specifically for the purchase of diapers. In fact, many programs prohibit spending money on diapers. Without diapers, infants and toddlers cannot attend childcare or participate in early childhood education. Without childcare, parents cannot go to work or school. “We are grateful to our lead donors​ BARE Medical Spa + Laser Center and Heritage Toyota for collectively pledging $1,500 toward our goal, and the many individuals and businesses who have already responded to this Community Challenge. It is truly remarkable how Vermonters can come together in times of need, and diaper need is no exception,” Herzberger said.

The JLCV has begun working with agencies across the state, as well as legislative partners, to devise a sustainable long-term solution to diaper need in Vermont so no parent should have to delay a diaper change for want of a clean diaper.