Cedar Rapids not-for-profits collect more than 140,800 diapers for low-income families

Agencies surpass their goal

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Two area not-for-profits collected more than 140,800 diapers to stock the Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank throughout October — surpassing its goal by more than 15,000 diapers.

The Eastern Iowa Health Center and the Young Parents Network started the diaper bank in 2016 to help working parents and their children obtain clean diapers, which in turn leads to healthier families.

There are about 2,000 children aged 5 and under living in poverty in Linn County, the two organizations said. Meanwhile, a month’s supply of diapers can cost between $75 and $125 — which can come down to the parent deciding to pay for diapers or the heating bill.

“We are thrilled with the success of this year’s Operation Diaper Drive,” said Joe Lock, president and chief executive officer of the Eastern Iowa Health Center, in a statement. “Diapers collected will ensure that families struggling to make ends meet will not have to choose between paying for essential needs and diapers.”

Access to clean diapers improves the physical, mental and economic well-being of babies and families. But government assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — do not cover the cost of diapers.

In addition, most day cares require parents to supply a day’s worth of diapers to permit them to drop a child off for the day. That means parents without diapers have to leave their child in an unsafe environment or miss a day of work, which only furthers the problem and hardships.

Parents can collect points to purchase diapers by taking part in healthy behaviors such as prenatal doctors’ visits, well-child exams and dental visits. Some items, including earning a GED or coming in for a 20-week glucose test for diabetes, can earn more points than other actions.

New and unused but opened packages of diapers can be donated year-round at 420 Sixth St. SE in Cedar Rapids.

l Comments: (319) 398-8331; chelsea.keenan@thegazette.com

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