On March 3rd, PA-AFL CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, and Community Services Director Dave Madsen, in conjunction with the Harrisburg-Camp Curtin YMCA, participated in a Diaper and Voter Registration Drive. Diapers are often an overlooked necessity, and it showed in the amount families that came out. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, a non-profit that works on diaper insecurity, 1 in 3 U.S. families report experiencing diaper need.
· 5 million children in the U.S. aged three or younger live in poor or low-income families.
· Infants require up to 12 diapers per day, toddlers about 8.
· Disposable diapers can cost $70 to $80 per month per baby.
· No state or federal child safety-net program allocates dollars specifically for the purchase of diapers.
· Without transportation, buying diapers at a convenience store rather than a large “big box” store can significantly increase the monthly cost of diapers.
· Most childcare centers, even free and subsidized facilities, require parents to provide a day’s supply of disposable diapers.
We are encouraging our members to support the National Diaper Bank (NDP) network’s efforts. Right now, the NDP is asking for advocates to either donate through their website or lobby local elected officials to support policies that will affect diaper needs. The NDP networks toolkit goes over specifically how advocates can promote awareness over the issue. As we know, the little things that get overlooked can create big problems later. Diaper insecurity should not be too small of a problem to have a big response from the labor community. We strongly encourage you to join us in this effort.
Community Service events are also a great opportunity for civic engagement. Low-income families tend to experience transience, and by offering an opportunity to register to vote many could update their information to match their current address. With low-income families the most vulnerable to bad policy decisions, we must do all we can to stand up for the changes we want to see in our communities and empower everyone to take part in the democratic process. We welcome all to join us in this work!