WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — One in three families face the choice of feeding their children or buying diapers for them.
The supplies can cost up to $100 a month. They are not covered under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) or food stamps. That’s why Michelle Old started the Diaper Bank of North Carolina to provide support.
“We hear from teachers who are teaching our children during the day and go home at night and cannot afford diapers for their own children,” Old said. “We’re seeing babies left in one diaper a day, families rinsing out and reusing diapers, and parents making really tough decisions about basic needs they shouldn’t have to make.”
The nonprofit collects and distributes diapers, wipes and formula to agencies across our state. It also provides feminine hygiene products to local public schools and collects adult incontinence supplies for seniors. Distribution sites are located in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Durham and Wilmington.
Two thousand babies in the Piedmont Triad benefit from the Diaper Bank of North Carolina every month. The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro funded a Women to Women grant to meet growing demand during the COVID crisis.
Now, the Greater Triad branch is facing a supply shortage. The fire at the Winston Weaver fertilizer plant at the end of January caused chemical damage to more than a million products sitting in the diaper bank’s warehouse on Indiana Avenue in Winston-Salem. Old’s team shifted distribution to Durham.
While the diaper bank has been able to continue distributing supplies without disruption, it has suffered in other ways. Old says it lost its base of Triad volunteers and without a place to store donations, diaper drives in the community ended. As a result, the Durham community is currently supporting families in the Piedmont Triad. Old is focused on restocking supplies and finding more than 150 local volunteers ready to repackage products every month. If things don’t change, she says they will be forced to reconsider their presence in Winston-Salem.
“We need people power. We need drives from the community and we need support in maintaining the 100,000 diapers a month that we’re distributing into the community,” Old said.
She hopes community members will consider volunteering or organizing a diaper drive.
To get more information or make a donation, visit ncdiaperbank.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call the Greater Triad branch at (336) 830-4579.