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Diaper drive aims to replenish shelves at Keeping Families Covered

WAUKEGAN — Imagine having to put a soiled diaper back on your baby’s bottom because there simply isn’t enough money in the household budget to maintain a steady supply of clean diapers.

For an estimated one in three U.S. families, that scenario is a stark reality all too often, according to the National Diaper Bank Network. And for those affected, the situation can result in a host of ills for both baby and family that goes well beyond diaper rash. It can, in fact, lead to everything from severe bacterial diarrhea for the infant, an increased likelihood of post-partum depression for the mother, and — due to day cares requiring an adequate supply of diapers — a decreased ability for parents to attend school or work.

Ann Marie Mathis is founder and CEO of the Waukegan-based nonprofit Keeping Families Covered, where the sixth annual Huggies for the Holidays diaper drive is ongoing through Dec. 31. The organization serves 1,200 families and 1,800 children a month and is on pace to distribute 1.5 million diapers this year. It is a godsend for those in need, as no federal aid or welfare program covers diapers.

“Huggies for the Holidays is a wonderful opportunity for local businesses to host a diaper drive at their location or serve as a diaper drop site,” Mathis said said in a news release “The event aims to raise awareness about diaper need and encourage people to support the diaper distribution program at Keeping Families Covered. All sizes of diapers are accepted, but sizes 4, 5 and 6 are needed most.”

Several area businesses and other entities already are taking donations. They include the Kiddie Academies in Grayslake and Gurnee, Diamond Residential Mortgage of Libertyville, Mowery & Schoenfeld of Lincolnshire, and Waukegan’s City Hall. Singalila Gallery in Libertyville wrapped up its holiday kickoff drive Nov. 13, but will continue accepting diapers throughout the end of the year for those who still wish to donate.

And it’s not too late to add your business’s name to the drop-off site list. Visit www.keepingfamiliescovered.org/events, send an email to info@keepingfamiliescovered.org or call 224-637-1644 for information.

“When Ann Marie shared with me that Lake County moms were trying to rinse and re-use disposable diapers (while I was changing my grandson Parker’s diaper), I was in shock,” said Jan Leasure, division president of Diamond Residential and a member of the Keeping Families Covered Board of Directors for nearly four years. “I pledged at that moment that I would help.”

Mathis said she is grateful for any and all support. She added that, along with the external drop-off sites, donations also are taken at Keeping Families Covered, 3250-B N. Oak Grove Ave., Waukegan. Other methods of supporting the nonprofit’s efforts are listed at keepingfamiliescovered.org, where a portal for cash donations also is available.

“Donors can also shop our Amazon and Target wish lists to have diapers shipped directly to our office,” she said. “The level of need is greater than ever. We look forward to engaging the community in this campaign and reaching our goal of collecting 25,000 diapers for children in need.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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