Chapel Hill-Carrboro proclaims last week of Sept. Diaper Need Awareness Week

The mayors of Chapel Hill and Carrboro proclaimed the last week of September as Diaper Need Awareness Week to bring attention to the lack of access to diapers experienced by those who live in poverty. 

Governor Roy Cooper also proclaimed the week as Diaper Need Awareness Week for the state of North Carolina. 

According to a study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, families with children in diapers spend up to $125 a month on diapers. This cost is not covered by federal nutrition safety net programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

While issues like food scarcity are frequently talked about, diaper need is often overlooked. Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said that declaring Diaper Need Awareness Week is an important reminder for the community that people need diapers. 

The proclamations were made in partnership with Diaper Bank of North Carolina, which works with established family-support organizations to provide diapers and other personal hygiene products to low-income or poverty-stricken families across the state. The nonprofit distributes over 200,000 diapers a month throughout North Carolina.

In 2013, DBNC was founded by Michelle Old, a mother of three who saw firsthand the importance of having access to clean diapers after her son had diaper rashes severe enough that he was hospitalized three to five times a month. Even though the Old family had access to clean diapers, they were constantly fighting to keep their son healthy. 

Old's personal experiences led her to question what their situation would be like if they could not afford the 15 to 20 diaper changes that their son required per day. 

Since its foundation, DBNC has opened three branches. DBNC does not distribute diapers directly to families, but rather to family-support organizations that also give access to other social services. 

“We feel very strongly that if a family is struggling with diapers, they probably are struggling with other needs, like food assistance, help with utilities or help affording a car seat,” Old said. “We really want them connected to programs that can help them in multiple ways.”

DBNC also brings the Truckload of Hope, a mobile diaper bank, once a month to military families stationed at Fort Bragg. In a recent survey of North Carolina military families done by DBNC, 63 percent of respondents felt that having enough diapers was a significant concern. 

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said she thinks that the effects of Diaper Need Awareness Week will be ongoing. 

“We can continually encourage people to somehow purchase a few extra diapers," she said. “You know, buy them for your kids, buy them for someone else.” 


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