Two area not-for-profits have launched an initiative to collect thousands of diapers throughout October for local families in need.
The third annual Operation Diaper Drive started Monday and will continue through Oct. 21 in an effort to collect 200,000 diapers for the Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank.
The Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank was created through a collaboration of the Eastern Iowa Health Center, a Cedar Rapids-based federally qualified health center, and the young family support network YPN to collect diapers for families.
According to officials, about 2,000 children age 5 and under live in poverty in Linn County.
A month’s supply of diapers can cost $70 to $125, and government assistance programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, do not cover the cost of diapers — meaning some Linn County parents are forced to chose between paying the bills and buying diapers.
Parents can collect points to buy diapers by taking part in healthy behaviors, including prenatal doctors’ visits and well-child exams. Some points can be earned by obtaining a GED or coming in for a 20-week glucose test for diabetes.
“Diaper bank families tell us that earning diapers and wipes through Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank has eased the stress of deciding whether to buy diapers or pay bills,” EIHC President and CEO Joe Lock said in a news release.
At the end of last year’s drive, EIHC and YPN were able to collect more than 140,800 diapers for the clinic, surpassing their goal by more than 15,000 diapers.
And officials hope to surpass that goal once again.
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“We are on track to distribute over 200,000 diapers in 2018 but cannot do it without our community’s support,” Lock said in the news release.
Donations can be made through Oct. 21 at collection bins at Hy-Vee stores in Cedar Rapids and Marion.
All sizes and brands of diapers are welcome. Officials are accepting new diapers, as well as open but unused packages.
Diapers also can be donated year-round at YPN, at 420 Sixth St. SE in Cedar Rapids.
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