PORTLAND, Maine — The United Way of Southern Maine and the Maine Jewish Community Alliance hosted a drive-thru diaper drive Sunday to help families in the area who are struggling to make ends meet.
The Alliance and UWSM said the goal was to collect more than 10,000 diapers to help stock the shelves of the Diaper Bank for the holiday season, which they will tally on Monday.
According to the United Way, children in low-income families are at the greatest risk of suffering the effects of diaper need because many families cannot afford diapers.
The organization said on average, diapers cost $18 a week, or $936 per year. In Maine, 17% of families earn less than 100% of the Federal Poverty Level and do not have resources to cover this additional expense.
SNAP and TANF do not support the purchase of diapers. Babies without clean diapers experience greater health risks, and women with diaper need also reported more difficulty with stress management, depression, and coping with trauma, which can negatively affect a child’s health and development.
Rachel Boucher was in that same spot in 2018: two kids and struggling to make ends meet. Paying for diapers seemed unrealistic.
So when she and members of the Fraternity Lodge 6 Woodford’s Corner arrived with two trucks full of $1,500 worth of diapers and baby products, the Alliance was grateful.
"We're consistently giving out over 100,000 diapers every other month so however we can supplement our supply and get more diapers out to and diaper need for local families, that's how we want to do it," said Adam Siegal, of Michael Klahr Jewish Family Services at the JCA.
"It made me think, one day when we're able to I'm going to give back to those who gave to me when I was down and out," said Boucher.