Amherst diaper program gets boost

  • The Amherst Survival Center building

Published: 6/29/2016 10:52:10 AM

A new state grant will help get diapers into the hands of families who lack access to them.

The Amherst Survival Center announced Tuesday it’s received $10,000 to support its diaper distribution program. Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, led the push for the funding, which will pay for 45,000 diapers for families in Hampshire and Franklin counties, according to a press release from the Survival Center.

The Survival Center has been distributing diapers as part of its Food Pantry since its first diaper drive in early 2015, for which Story was also a sponsor.

In March, the White House blog reported nearly one-third of families in America struggle to afford enough diapers. Diapers aren’t covered under any federal assistance programs, and when parents go longer between diaper changes in an effort to save money, it can lead to urinary tract or staph infections for their children.

Low-income families with infants spend an average of $936 on diapers per year per child, according to the White House report.

Survival Center Executive Director Mindy Domb said in the release the grant – likely the first of its kind – will help alleviate these burdens, as will increasing community support.

“Over the past year, our community has demonstrated its growing awareness of diaper need and its commitment to low income families who struggle with it,” she said. “Representative Story’s effective advocacy helped to make history in the effort to wipe out diaper need in the Commonwealth.”

Domb also said the Survival Center will use some of the funding to raise awareness for the need of other personal care items, like toilet paper, tampons and deodorant, which are also not covered by federal assistance programs.

“Many families across the country struggle to afford basic non-food household goods – including personal care items,” she said. “As a result, families are forced to routinely make trade-offs with other living expenses in order to secure essential items. We are grateful to the community for our shared commitment to support our neighbors with these important items.”

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