March 19, 2021

Duckworth Hosts Roundtable to Help Illinois Families with Diaper Needs


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today hosted a virtual roundtable with several leaders to discuss her End Diaper Need Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide resources to assist working families in addressing their diaper needs. Duckworth also discussed provisions from the End Diaper Need Act being included in the American Rescue Plan, as well as how government and organizations can work together in making sure families have access to diapering supplies. She was joined by founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Rev. Jesse Jackson, CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network Joanne Goldblum, founder and Executive Director of Keeping Families Covered Ann-Marie Mathis, Executive Director of Share Our Space Alex Goodfellow, Executive Director of Loving Bottoms Lee Ann Porter and Senior Director of Operations Cradles to Crayons Jaron Newton.

“In the middle of a global public health crisis—with so many families struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads—the last thing parents should have to worry about is being able to afford diapers that are essential to the health and well-being of their children,” Duckworth said. “Today’s meeting underscored the importance of helping Illinoisans get their diaper needs covered and I’m thankful these leaders and I can work together in supporting working families across our state.”

“Diaper need is a public health issue that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, impacted 1 in 3 families who struggled to supply the diapers needed to keep their children clean and healthy,” said Goldblum. “Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) member diaper banks have reported an 86% increase, on average, in the number of diapers distributed in their local communities (2020) as compared to pre-pandemic figures (2019). The End Diaper Need Act of 2021 championed by Senator Duckworth would provide federal funding for diapers, a material basic need all babies and toddlers require to reach their full potential.”

“The lack of access and resources to families experiencing diaper need in underserved populations, specifically rural areas, often gets overlooked,” said Porter. “The End Diaper Need Act truly attacks diaper poverty from every angle. Not only would it give diaper banks and other organizations the funding and resources to assist more families, but of equal importance, it would allow for the purchase of diapers with HSA funds and provide diapers to medically complex children. When combined, these measures would provide immediate relief to caregivers struggling to afford diapers. This legislation would be the greatest step toward ending diaper need that the federal government has ever taken specific action on.”

“Unmet diaper need is a hidden consequence of poverty that was unmasked this year by COVID,” said Goodfellow. “Families that had a previous need were hit the hardest, but many families experienced diaper need for the first time. This year Share Our Spare distributed 1.2 million diapers, more than the past 8 years of service combined. Still, this response has not been enough, we are not able to meet the requested support for over 30,000 more children. Support from the End Diaper Need Act would equip nonprofits and distribution channels like Share Our Spare to meet the essential needs of our children.”