The Kennebec Valley Community Action Program in Waterville is hosting its annual diaper drive throughout October. Its Family Enrichment Councils in Kennebec and Somerset counties are coordinating the drive in partnership with local law enforcement agencies, according to a news release from KVCAP.

Diapers are an expensive necessity that can easily cost $100 a month or more. In the U.S., one in three low-income families report diaper disparity and 36% of parents living in poverty regularly run out of clean diapers. The cost adds up quickly and when parents are struggling financially, diapers are often one of the first things to be stretched.

Babies who remain too long in soiled diapers are exposed to potential health risks including infections and skin conditions, as well as longer periods of crying. Without disposable diapers, parents cannot bring their children to most childcare providers, leaving them unable to go to work. This contributes to the continuation of the financial instability cycle and create more stress and anxiety for the entire family. The benefits of eliminating diaper disparity extend outward to the entire community.

Many local businesses are hosting collection sites. All diaper sizes and brands are accepted. The donated diapers will be repackaged with information about additional resources, and distributed to numerous sites, including town offices, shelters, and other non-profits that work with families. Last year’s diaper drive collected more than 20,000 diapers, supporting the health and wellbeing of hundreds of families.

In addition to the collection sites, there is a Live-Drive “Stuff the Cruiser” event at Buddies Groceries in Oakland from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, in partnership with Chief Mike Tracy and the Oakland Police Department. The goal is to stuff the cruiser to the roof with diaper donations.

“The need for diapers directly impacts the physical, mental and economic well-being of children and families. This resource gives families someplace to turn to for help when their budgets are just too tight to make ends meet,” said Lanelle Freeman, KVCAP’s Social Services director, according to the release. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have distributed over 25,000 diapers to families in need.”

To learn more or to find the nearest collection, call Becky Lambert at 207-859-1588 (Kennebec County) or Kristen Plummer at 207-859-2520 (Somerset County).

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