Diapers in high demand for local families in need

Diapers in high demand for local families in need

KETV – This is a need. It’s something that’s not federally funded

Demand remains high at local food banks and not just for meals.

JoAnn Emerson, of the Center for People in Need in Lincoln, said there is a critical need for diapers.

“It’s a giant problem that is largely hidden in our community,” Emerson said.

She said many people continue to be out of work or have reduced hours.

“We’re acting as if the world is getting back to normal and it is in fact getting worse,” Emerson said.

She said last month they helped 350 babies. Next month she estimated it would be over 450 babies.

“This is meant to supplement the parent’s budget, not to cover the whole diaper need,” Emerson said.

Diapers can cost up to $80 a month.

Currently there are no government assistance programs to help low income families purchase diapers.

That’s why the Junior League of Lincoln started a diaper bank at the Center.

The League has also launched a month-long diaper drive.

“This is a need. It’s something that’s not federally funded, or state funded. Babies need diapers and we need there to able to help,” said Junior League of Lincoln President Hannah Norman.

A number of Lincoln businesses have set up collection barrels. A.T Thomas Jewelers is one of the businesses.

“Having additional struggles, having to try to find diapers for your child or having to reuse them is something we don’t want families to feel,” said Jenny Thomas of A.T. Thomas Jewelers.

Thomas said they are offering some free ring refurbishing for customers who donate.

“Just as our thank you for coming in and bringing in the diapers,” Thomas said.

The Lifehouse in Omaha is the only other diaper bank in the state.

It’s been serving the Metro area for around for six years.

“We were giving about 14,000 diapers each month and now we’re giving out 57,000,” said Lifehouse Executive Director Tegan Reed.

She said families tell them, without the help, they would be forced to make tough choices.

“That they would have to decide feeding their family or providing diapers,” Reed said.

And some alternatives are creating health risks, according to Emerson.

“They’ll keep their child in the diaper longer. They’ll try to wash it out and dry it so they can reuse the diaper,” Emerson said.

She said many day cares will not take babies if the parents don’t supply diapers.

That has forced some parents to miss even more work.

“People have lost their jobs because of this,” Emerson said.

“Many families are facing a pretty desperate situation.”

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird proclaimed the week of Sept. 21-27 as “National Diaper Need Awareness Week”

“Diapers cost an average of $80 a month per child, and this necessary expense can be a significant burden for families with low incomes,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “Many child care programs will not enroll children who do not have an adequate supply of diapers. Research shows that this predicament causes many parents to miss work, thereby jeopardizing family economic stability.”

Here are links how you can help. In Lincoln: Junior League Lincoln. In Omaha: The Lifehouse and OneWorld Community Health Center.