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Foundation, food bank partner to distribute diapers to needy

The Allied Foundation of Long Island is partnering with Long Island Cares to distribute more than 30,000 diapers for families struggling to afford diapers for their children. Credit: Danielle Silverman

A Long Island-based diaper bank and one of the region’s largest food banks announced Tuesday they are partnering to distribute 30,000 free baby diapers to families struggling to purchase the necessity amid the economic distress brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Heather Edwards, the executive director of the nonprofit Melville-based Allied Foundation, said the foundation’s diaper bank donated $5,000 worth of diapers to Long Island Cares Inc., which will distribute the diapers to families in need.

“There’s no federal or state child safety net available for families to purchase diapers,” said Edwards. “So basically they struggle and they go without or they reuse or they make their own.”

Edwards said when families suffer diaper insecurity, it results in babies and children getting "terrible rashes and infections" from wearing diapers for longer than they should. Since COVID-19, Edwards said her group had seen a substantial increase in diaper need. Disposable diapers can cost up to $80 per month per child, with infants requiring up to 12 diapers a day and toddlers about eight per day.

The COVID-19 Long Island Philanthropic Response Fund at The Long Island Community Foundation provided a $5,000 grant to The Allied Foundation Diaper Bank, which was founded in 2017, to purchase the diapers from the National Diaper Bank Network, which allows members to make bulk diaper purchases at a discounted price.

Paule Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares-The Harry Chapin Food Bank, said the organization would distribute the diapers at 22 locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk in what he called a "wonderful, wonderful partnership" with the diaper bank.

Patcher said his group had seen a 250% increase in the number of people seeking food assistance since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. He said requests included not only food, but items like baby formula, Clorox wipes and pet food.

“There's so many families struggling during this pandemic,” he said. “Not only with food, not only where to find food, but with things like formula, diapers and so to get a donation like this of thousands of diapers that we’re able to give out right now …  that we’re able to provide the diapers to families in need, keeping their children healthy, keeping them clean and comfortable.”

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Pachter said those in need of diapers could visit licares.org or call 631-582-FOOD for more information.

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