With parents facing layoffs due to unprecedented unemployment during COVID-19, plus recent reports of diaper shortages as a result of stockpiling and supply chain issues, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are teaming up to urge the Senate to support low-income families and front-line workers who are in critical need of diaper assistance to provide for the health, safety, and economic security of their children.
In a bipartisan letter to Senate leaders, Ernst and Murphy write, “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, nonprofit diaper bank distribution only met five to six percent of diaper need. Most diaper banks, which were already oversubscribed and had waiting lists for partner agencies, are now facing severe supply shortages due to the demand increase as more families experience job loss during this pandemic.”
The senators continue: “Having access to these services is especially imperative for our essential workers so that their children can be accepted into daycare or childcare facilities. Essential workers should not have to worry about diaper need becoming a barrier for accessing childcare…We urge you to prioritize the need of low-income families and front-line workers who are in critical need of diaper assistance to provide for the health, safety, and economic security of their children”
“We are grateful for Senators Ernst and Murphy’s strong bipartisan leadership to help families across get the diapers they need to keep their child clean, dry, and healthy,” said Joanne Goldblum, CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network. “Our more than 200 members across all 50 states have seen dramatic increases in demand for diapers – often doubling or tripling since the beginning of the pandemic. We know that before COVID-19, 1 in 3 US families struggled with diaper need. Diaper need negatively impacts the physical, emotional and economic health of children and families, and the effects are increasing during these difficult times, as families are forced to choose between diapers, food and other basic necessities. The critical funding requested by Senators Murphy and Ernst would enable diaper banks to help families weather the COVID-19 crisis and begin to recover and regain their footing, particularly as parents are able to return to work.”
“Thank you to Senators Ernst and Murphy for their leadership and support of diaper banks, who are working daily to meet the increased need due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Erin Langdon, Chief Development Officer of Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank (EIDB). “Since mid-March, EIDB has more than doubled our distribution to families who are struggling to provide a sufficient supply of diapers for their children. We are committed to providing diapers and wipes to those in need throughout the pandemic and the critical funding request led by Senators Ernst and Murphy will enable us to continue this work. Here locally, families have overwhelming expressed gratitude and thanks in helping to fill this essential need during the crisis.”
Joining Ernst and Murphy on the letter are Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).