[December 10, 2016] Oakland, California – Hundreds of moms and dads are receiving a helping hand thanks to a coalition of public and private organizations and the nonprofit SupplyBank.Org. More than 50,000 diapers, 100,000 baby wipes, hundreds of diaper backpacks, and other items were distributed to families at the Eastmont Mall WIC Office as the kickoff of an effort to solve “diaper need” in four Bay Area counties. The event was attended by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson, SupplyBank.Org Founder and Executive Director Benito Delgado-Olson and several partnering public agency representatives.
The purpose of the event was to kickoff SupplyBank.Org’s Baby Hygiene Kit Program and raise awareness of diaper need and its negative impacts on health, job security and child care affordability. SupplyBank.Org will distribute diapers, baby wipes, diaper rash cream and other items through partnering agencies such as family resource centers and WIC sites in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Solano Counties, as well as nearly 100 county offices of education and domestic violence shelters statewide. Although this is the pilot year of the Baby Hygiene Kit Program, the collective goal of all contributors is to make it the biggest diaper and related products distribution program in the nation. With 1 in 3 mothers in the United States experiencing diaper need, program scalability is critical.
Diaper need has become such an urgent issue—diapers can account for up to 14% of some low-income families’ budgets—that local Representative Barbara Lee has coauthored legislation to address it. “I am proud of the partnership between SupplyBank.Org and Kaiser Permanente to provide diapers to families in low-income communities and help close the diaper divide,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “Families should never have to choose between keeping their babies healthy and buying food or paying rent, but with 1 in 3 families struggling to afford diapers, many do. In Congress, I am proud to co-sponsor H.R. 4055, which would make federal grants available for states to create programs that provide diaper access to low income families.” There have been similar efforts in the state as well.
Kaiser Permanente—whose mission is to provide affordable, high quality health care services and to improve the health of the communities it serves—has been a key partner in efforts to address the unmet material needs of low-income children.
A grant of $95,000 from Kaiser Permanente will help Supplybank.Org launch the program,
“Our commitment to creating healthier communities is at the heart of our mission,” said Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson. “Improving the health of our communities begins with understanding and addressing some of the very basic needs of families—like the need for diapers and other baby hygiene items. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of families and help our communities achieve better health.”
The negative health impacts of diaper need are severe and widespread—more than 600 babies were treated for diaper dermatitis in Alameda County in 2015, along with more than 450 treated for urinary tract infections and hundreds more for related conditions. Statewide, more than 14,500 babies were treated for diaper dermatitis, along with more than 19,000 treated for urinary tract infections and thousands more for related conditions.*
A statewide organization following the business model of food banks, SupplyBank.Org has distributed more than $20.5 million in basic materials such as backpacks, school supply kits, dental hygiene kits, and refurbished computers to more than 350,000 people in California in the past five years. SupplyBank.Org will reach its 500,000th person in the next year.
This effort is one of several that SupplyBank.Org coordinates to address the unmet material needs of low-income children and families. “As our elected leaders endeavor to solve these issues on a state and national level, it is important that we establish local and scalable models to solve diaper need,” said Benito Delgado-Olson, Founder and Executive Director of SupplyBank.Org. “It proves that solutions are possible. We are grateful for the partnership and leadership of Kaiser Permanente, all of the contributing agencies and foundations and our Congresswoman for raising awareness of this serious issue.”
Contributors to and collaborators in this effort include Kaiser Permanente, SupplyBank.Org, First 5 Alameda County, First 5 Santa Clara County, First 5 Solano County, Contra Costa Child Care Council, Alameda County Child Care Council, Alameda County Public Health/WIC, Thomas J. Long Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation, Sunlight Giving and The Opportunity Institute.
About SupplyBank.Org: SupplyBank.Org (transitioning from K to College), was founded in 2008 by Benito Delgado-Olson and several of his UC Berkeley colleagues and alumni as a nonprofit public benefit corporation that models the approach of food banks to address unmet material needs. By leveraging public and private partnerships and economies of scale, SupplyBank.Org can produce up to a three dollar benefit for every dollar invested. The organization’s mission is to efficiently address the unmet material needs of homeless and low-income children, youth and adults working towards self-sufficiency. For more information, visit www.supplybank.org.
*Data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development