NNS Spotlight: ‘Diapers, dollars and doers’: How Milwaukee Diaper Mission is answering the community’s needs – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-09-24 06:55:45 –

“The diaper bank is run by diapers, dollars and practitioners,” said Megan Johnson, co-founder and secretary-general of the Milwaukee Diaper Mission. (Photo by Ana Martinez-Ortiz)

A few months ago, the Hmong American Women’s Association received a diaper box donated for a community closet. This group, also known as HAWA, divided the diapers into five packs. By the end of the week, they were gone.

“We are beginning to notice an increasing number of parents and women who have children or are taking care of them,” said Outreach and Education Director Lina Yang. “And their high demand is,’Are you going to get more diapers? Are you guys going to get more wipes?”

Yang knew that the group needed to find a sustainable answer to the needs of the community. Through conversation, Yang learned about the Milwaukee diaper mission, a non-profit diaper bank that aims to provide low-income earners with diapers, menstrual supplies, and wipes.

After contacting Megan Johnson, co-founder and secretary general of Milwaukee diaper mission, HAWA became an official sales partner in July.

See your needs and meet them

Johnson had no plans to start a non-profit organization. Initially, she was trying to educate low-income families about the benefits of cloth diapers.

When she had a hard time finding a local diaper bank, she contacted the National Diaper Bank Network, which encouraged her to start herself.

Johnson co-founded the Milwaukee Diaper Mission in September 2020 with his cousin Jessica Jung. By October, the group had Space, 2612 S. Greeley Street, Suite 222 and distributed it to local organizations by November.

Syburg initially served as Vice President for several months and is now a volunteer.

As of August, the group has distributed over 140,000 diapers and over 80,000 sanitary products.

The Milwaukee Diaper Mission is part of the National Diaper Bank Network, United Way, NS Milwaukee CareNet Pregnancy Center And that African American Breastfeeding Network We provide diaper products to individuals.

IMPACT 2-1-1 received 212 diaper-related requests from January 2020 to June 2020. This year, we received 107 diaper-related calls during the same period. The organization has referred individuals to institutions such as the House of Peace, the Alpha Women’s Center, and the Women’s Support Center of Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Diaper Mission offers both reusable and disposable diapers and believes in the dignity of choice. (Photo by Ana Martinez-Ortiz)

Dalvery Blackwell, co-founder of the African-American Breastfeeding Network, explained that some of the organization’s funding is unlimited and can be used to purchase items such as diapers and breastfeeding supplies.

According to Blackwell, pregnant women are automatically enrolled in the program when they come to class. This network provides clients with doulas, breast pumps, diapers and more for free.

“As long as they are breastfeeding, they need our service,” she said.

The group plans to deliver daily to clients and install a pickup system.

“Dignity of choice”

The Milwaukee Diaper Mission offers partners both disposable and reusable diaper options.

“We are disposable and reusable,” Johnson said. “The dignity of choice is very important to our organization. We offer as many products as we can because we want our families to be able to choose which products to use for their bodies and their babies’ bodies. increase.”

Johnson became interested in cloth diapers when he was pregnant with his first child.

“I’ve always been environmentally friendly. It seemed natural to focus on learning about cloth diapers and trying them out with your baby,” she said. “It’s also a huge cost savings. It’s an additional benefit that you wouldn’t expect to have bought a diaper before you knew how expensive it was each month.”

According to the National Diaper Bank Network, the average monthly cost of a diaper for one child in 2018 was about $ 80. Temporary Assistance for Poor Families, a federal assistance program, helps families cover the cost of diapers, but the money is also used to cover bills, rent, clothing, transportation, and more.

According to Johnson, the initial cost varies, but the average initial cost of a cloth diaper is about $ 150, excluding the cost of water and detergent.

This group relies on in-kind and monetary donations and volunteers. The group received $ 20,000 in funding for the CARES Act used for inventory. She said the group always needed size 6 diapers, wipes and sanitary napkins.

“Diaper banks are run by diapers, dollars and practitioners,” said Johnson. “During the pandemic, all three things were hard to come by. It was probably our biggest struggle, as a small organization was just starting up.”

Diaper and wipe packages are distributed monthly Various partners HAWA, Metcalfe Park Community Bridge, Next Door Milwaukee, Maroon Carabash, etc. Occasionally, the group plans to create postpartum care kits and menopausal care packages.

“Supporting people in this season of life is the passion of our organization,” Johnson said.

How to help

Find information about drop spots, acceptable donations and more here..

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