Champaign duo launching diaper bank for area
CHAMPAIGN — If babies could talk, they'd probably say spending a lot of time in wet diapers isn't very comfortable. But for some babies, the family budget just doesn't stretch far enough for a dry day.
Joy and Susan George, a Champaign mom and daughter, are looking to come to the rescue by starting The Bottom Line Diaper Bank of East-Central Illinois.
The purpose of the diaper bank is to supply disposable diapers to nonprofit agencies serving needy families in the area, Joy George said.
The founder and executive director of Prairieland Conflict Mediation Center, Joy George said she has seen through her work how fights erupt between young parents when babies need supplies, such as diapers, "and there's just no money to be had."
"In my day, everybody had cloth diapers," said the 53-year-old. "But nowadays, moms and dads are working, and day care providers are only taking disposable diapers, and there's just a need. Disposable diapers are so expensive. Babies are not able to get enough of them to last the day."
When babies go too long between diaper changes, they can wind up with painful rash and sores, pediatricians say.
George said about 10 people have expressed an interest in working with her and her daughter, an Illinois State University graduate student, on a committee to get the diaper bank up and running, and they are looking for more people to join them.
At least two local agencies see a big need for this diaper bank.
Every day, people knock on the doors of the Crisis Nursery asking if it has any diapers to spare, said spokeswoman Kristen Bosch.
The Crisis Nursery's nursery also has a need for more diapers, since most of the ones donated to it are in smaller sizes, and it serves kids from birth to age 6, she said.
"A majority of the families we serve are under the poverty line, and diapers are really expensive," Bosch said. "A resource like this, if it comes to fruition, would be very valuable in the community we serve."
Community Elements, a local mental and behavioral health agency, also sees a need through its programs that provide support and home visits to families at risk with babies and small children.
"We often get calls from families saying 'We are out of diapers,'" said Nicole Sikora, the early childhood mental health and development program manager for that agency.
When families call asking for diapers, Sikora said, they're given 10 to get them by until they can get another donation elsewhere.
It's not uncommon to see babies with full diapers, she said. Plus, "we also have seen families that water down their formula because they don't have enough."
Joy George, who also worked for the American Red Cross, hopes to see the diaper bank in operation by this fall, "and at this point, I don't see any reason why it can't happen."
She and her daughter have registered the diaper bank as a nonprofit organization with the state and aim to file paperwork with the IRS to apply for 501(c)(3) charitable status as work progresses, she said.
If you want to get involved, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or search for the organization's name on Facebook.