United Way to launch diaper drive

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — For the second consecutive year, United Way of Hampshire County will hold a diaper drive to benefit struggling families with small children in the area. 

In its first year, United Way’s drive collected 40,000 diapers and distributed them to families through local nonprofits. This year, they hope to do even more by collecting 50,000 diapers and 100,000 baby wipes. The drive starts Saturday and runs through Aug. 13. 

“It would help tremendously,” said James Ayres, executive director of the United Way. “We began this work because we saw that diapers were a huge challenge” for families. 

One in three families struggle to afford diapers, and government family welfare programs generally do not provide diapers to those who need them, according to a United Way press release.

The monthly price of buying diapers out of pocket can average around $100, and as Ayres noted, not everyone has that money readily available. 

“It’s an additional cost that can really stress that family,” he said.

Debra Foley, the United Way director of development and marketing, said she believes the most important thing the diaper drive does is raise awareness. Although a large numbers of families face shortages of diapers, it’s not a topic that is talked about much in public. She has twins and knows that raising them required “a lot of diapers.”

“We’re making a dent, I don’t know that we’re solving this problem, unfortunately,” she said of the drive. “The most important thing is that we educate the community.”

For more information, visit https://uwhampshire.org/uwhc-diaper-drive