Junior League of Eau Claire

Diaper Bank
The Diaper Bank

The Diaper Bank is a project of the Junior League of Eau Claire (JLEC). Through a partnership with Feed My People, we will collect and distribute a steady supply of free diapers to poor and low-income families living in Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties.

The Facts

An adequate supply of diapers can cost over $100 a month.

In 2018, the Eau Claire County WIC Office, a supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children, serviced 2,583 unduplicated clients. 58% of those clients were infants and children under the age of 3. In Chippewa County, the WIC Office served 1455 unduplicated clients (2018).

The WIC program helps families obtain food and proper nutrition to start off on the right foot, but there is no funding for diapers included in this program. In fact, there are NO federal social safety net programs (ex. SNAP, Food Stamps, WIC, etc) that include diapers or wipes. Furthermore, diapers are not a "qualified medical expense" under the Public Health Service Act, and thus cannot be purchased with health savings accounts or Healthcare Reimbursement Arrangements.

National statistics say that 50% of all babies born are eligible for WIC services. Local food pantries provide diapers to families only when they have been donated or when they are available for purchase at a low cost, which is rare.

Most people living in poverty do not have affordable access to washing facilities, so cannot use cloth diapers. Even if they did, most coin operated laundromats do not allow customers to wash cloth diapers for health and sanitary reasons.

There are only 8 diaper banks in the state of Wisconsin that are recognized members of The National Diaper Bank Network, the vast majority of which are in the southern half of the state. In fact, The Diaper Bank - A Project of Junior League of Eau Claire, is the only NDBN Diaper Bank located in northern Wisconsin. The next closest NDBN Diaper Bank in Wisconsin is either Madison, WI or Kaukauna, WI - both more than 3 hours away.

For more facts about diaper need in Wisconsin specifically, please visit the National Diaper Bank Network at https://nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/state-diaper-statistics

For more information about the Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties WIC programs and other public health initiatives, please check out their annual reports here:
Eau Claire County Annual Reports  |  Chippewa County Annual Reports

The Impact

In poor and low-income families, a baby can spend a day or longer in one diaper, leading to potential health and abuse risks.

Low-income parents cannot take advantage of free or subsidized child care if they cannot afford to leave disposable diapers at childcare centers. If parents cannot access daycare, then they are less able to attend work or school on a consistent basis. This in turn leads to increased economic instability and continuation of the cycle of poverty. Without transportation, buying diapers at a convenience store rather than a large retailer can double or triple the monthly cost of diapers. Many parents are already struggling to pay for rent and food and simply cannot afford the high cost of an adequate supply of diapers for their children.

How You Can Help

Host a diaper drive anytime, anywhere! Ask guests at a baby shower to bring an extra gift -- a box of diapers for The Diaper Bank. Collect diapers at your next playgroup and drop them off at one of our partner sites (check our Facebook page for a list of current sites). Contact us and reserve a collection bin for your office lobby. It's easy! All the information you need to host a diaper drive is right here in our Diaper Drive Toolkit!

Donate funds! With the money you contribute to The Diaper Bank, we can purchase diapers at a reduced cost. The more money we get, the more diapers we can purchase and distribute! You can use the link on our “Support Us” page or send a check made out to: Junior League of Eau Claire, PO Box 1042, Eau Claire, WI, 54702 with "The Diaper Bank" written in the memo.

Join the Junior League of Eau Claire. Through projects like The Diaper Bank, we are women making a difference in our community! Be a part of something big! Contact us or find us on Facebook or Instagram.

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