A tractor trailer delivering a quarter million Huggies diapers rolled into the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank’s warehouse, 301 N. Braddock Ave., Point Breeze, at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, June 2 , as the result of the Huggies challenge of 2016. Teen volunteers and others from local churches will be on site to unload them for several hours.
Huggies challenged diaper banks across the country to collect that same amount of diapers by Dec. 31 of last year to be eligible for the match.
In 2016, Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank joined a national movement to support proposed legislation, Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act (S. 3070) and HR 4055, to address this critical family issue but the bills were defeated. President Obama then issued a challenge to businesses to step up and support community needs. The Huggies challenge was one response to that appeal.
Churches, law enforcement, companies, neighborhoods and individuals responded to the challenge and raised 182,000 diapers, enough for Huggies to honor the original commitment.
Cathy Battle, WPDB Executive Director, says, “We are grateful for the generosity of Pittsburghers that helped us to earn this donation by Huggies. Many are not aware that there is no direct government funding for diapers and do not see the despair created by the lack of this basic necessity for child care.”
The National Diaper Bank Network reports that 1 in 3 American families struggle to afford diapers for their children. The estimated need of children of families of low income is 74,000 per day in Allegheny County alone and growing.
Disposable diapers cost up to $100 per month per baby and are required to take a child to day care. Without diapers, many parents cannot go to work or school consistently, thereby continuing the cycle of poverty.
“The child’s health as well as the chance to normally develop cognitive abilities and language skills are in jeopardy. And frankly, the uncomfortable baby will cry — a lot. That can create tension in the home,” Battle adds.
“While the Huggies donation is a major boost, the need continues to grow. The diaper bank has distributed up to 13,000 diapers a week so we will use that supply quickly to get help to our local families,“ Battle notes. “We encourage anyone interested in hosting a diaper drive to continue to support us.”
The non-profit Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank is an affiliate of National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN). Diapers are distributed to families in need through 35 social service agencies in five counties in Western Pennsylvania.