Diaper bank delays first distribution

Diaper bank delays first distribution

DANVILLE — Officials with a newly-formed diaper bank are postponing their first community distribution, which had been set for Saturday.

"We're still trying to build up an inventory," said Dee Ann Ryan, one of the organizers.

"We need to have a few more successful drives," another organizer, Frank Brunacci, added. "We want to collect and distribute enough diapers so we can partner with the National Diaper Bank Association. They don't want to start working with a group that would be a flash-in-the-pan so to speak. They want to make sure we're going to be around and that we're serious, and we are."

Organizers plan to regroup on Dec. 12 and discuss future efforts.

Ryan, Vermilion County Mental Health 708 Board's director, and Brunacci, WorkSource Enterprises director, helped form the Diaper Bank of Vermilion County earlier this year.

They did so after reading a Yale School of Medicine study, published in July, showing that women who lacked an adequate supply of diapers were more likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety than their counterparts. They also saw a need for diapers in the local community.

Social service providers and churches "get calls for them every day," said Ryan, who knows of mothers who have kept their child in dirty diapers in order to make their limited supply last longer.

The diaper bank is being run through WorkSource, a long-established non-profit organization that provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities, to allow people to receive a tax deduction for their donations. However, it's being overseen by a steering committee that will organize drives and distributions.

Ryan held a small drive. Brunacci said another, held by Danville Township and state Sen. Mike Frerich's Danville office in September, collected some diapers and about $400 in donations.

"But we don't have enough for a distribution yet," he said, adding that too many people likely would have to be turned away.

Brunacci said the steering committee hopes to organize diaper-collection efforts throughout the county.

"We're hoping to have one gigantic repository. Right now, everyone's kind of doing their own thing, and the effort is fragmented," said Brunacci, who created a pamphlet explaining the program. It's being distributed to area churches.

Ryan said the group needs to rethink how it handles distributions.

"We probably won't hold open distributions," she said, referring to the original plan. "We'll probably try to work with local agencies to do limited ones when they schedule outreach and education events. That way, we can tie (the distribution) to an educational component. We don't want this to be a handout. We want to help lift people out of poverty."

"We want to empower women ... and fathers who are raising young children," Brunacci added.

Ryan said future diaper collections will be scheduled for after the holidays. Brunacci said people can continue to drop off diapers of any size or monetary donations at WorkSource Enterprises, 3715 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

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