MUSCATINE, Iowa–Just over a year after opening, the Community Diaper Bank has grown exponentially. Since first beginning to provide diapers to families in need in Nov. 2019, the organization has given away approximately 17,435 diapers valued at about $7,000. As the Community Diaper Bank moves into the new year, Director Whitney Howell looks forward to continuing to expand their reach to meet the diaper need that as many as one in three families experience.
As a member of the National Diaper Bank Network, the Community Diaper Bank purchases diapers of all sizes in bulk at a discounted rate using grants they have received from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine. To round out their stock, the Community Diaper Bank also holds local drives, often in partnership with the Muscatine Ministerial Association, and puts out requests for donations via their Facebook page if they start to run out of a particular kind of diaper.
Using this stock, the Community Diaper Bank distributes diapers to their six partnering organizations: Community Action of Eastern Iowa, Families First, Muscatine Community School District Parents as Teachers, Lutheran Services of Iowa HOPES, the Salvation Army of Muscatine County, and Trinity Muscatine Public Health, who in turn provide them to any clients who need diapers for their children. Any family in need can receive one pack of diapers for each of their young children per month.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has created more diaper need in Muscatine County, Howell has seen partner organizations step up to find ways to continue getting diapers to their clients, including through contactless pickup and drop off options. Through various granting opportunities from the Community Foundation and private donations, the Community Diaper Bank has kept its supply reasonably stable and feels confident they will continue to have enough diapers to keep up with demand in 2021. “Right now, we’re in a really good place to start the year, but we’ll definitely do drives to help replenish,” said Howell.
This year, the Community Diaper Bank hopes to widen its reach throughout the county, forming additional partnerships with nonprofit organizations in other cities. “We’re always looking to expand,” emphasized Howell. “We know there are people in West Liberty and Wilton who could benefit from diapers–it’s just a matter of getting the ball rolling.”
In everything the Community Diaper Bank did in its first year, Howell valued the collaboration between the bank and all of its partner organizations. “I really enjoyed the community collaboration,” she shared. “It shows the community organizations really care about families in need.”