Food shelves rarely stock diapers, and families can't use federal subsidies like WIC or SNAP to buy them. To address this need, a new diaper bank is opening to serve communities in Chittenden County.
The Diaper Bank had its ribbon-cutting Thursday. It aims to give away 100,000 diapers to local food shelves this year.
The bank is organized by the Junior League of Champlain Valley, and the group is looking at the need not only as a financial issue, but one that encompasses equal opportunity for young children to learn and for parents to work.
One example program chair Amanda Herzberger highlighted is the common requirement that parents supply child care providers with at least enough diapers to last the day.
"If you're not able to provide that, then you aren't able to drop off your child, and thus that has implications for your ability to work, for your ability to earn income ... it's a cycle," Herzberger continued.
"Diaper need really does impact families' ability to, you know, work and bring themselves up."
The sheer number of diapers needed to get through the day can also be surprising: Herzberger says babies can require between eight and 12 diapers a day. For toddlers, it's between six and eight.
On average, that can cost between $70 to $90 per month.
“That’s thousands of diapers, and it adds up,” she said.
Herzberger explained that individuals don't visit the Diaper Bank themselves, but rather the bank distributes diapers to partner food shelves, including Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, as well as ones in Milton, Hinesburg, Richmond and Williston.
"Three or four other food shelves have approached us and we're hopeful that, you know, maybe during the summer or early next fall we could take on additional partners," she said.
Monetary donations are welcome, Herzberger said, as that can help the bank buy in bulk and meet specific sizing demands.
She said people can also donate diapers directly at drop-off locations at Healthy Living in South Burlington or Kismet Place in Williston.
Broadcast on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.