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Part of 2021 Women's Agenda
Created through partnership with Baby2Baby, which will donate 20 million diapers to establish bank
Bank would distribute free diapers to families in need through New York State Food Bank network
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal to establish the New York State Cares + Baby2Baby Diaper Bank as part of the 2021 Women's Agenda. Through a partnership with Baby2Baby, a national nonprofit that provides basic essentials for children under the age of 18, 20 million donated diapers will be made available to New York's emergency feeding programs for distribution to food banks throughout the state at no cost to families.
"COVID-19 has piled challenge after challenge onto hardworking New York families, including the ability to afford the products they need to care for their children," Cuomo said. "Even before the pandemic, an astonishing one in three families struggled to cover the cost of diapers, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this issue. As we begin laying the groundwork to rebuild in a post-COVID world we must find ways to level the playing field and reduce the burdens this virus has placed on families in every corner of the state. This program will help give parents the peace of mind they deserve during this tumultuous time, and we thank Baby2Baby for their partnership in helping make this important program possible."
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, chair of the Governor's Council on Women and Girls, said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on all New Yorkers, and parents dealing with a sudden lack of child care and the stress of keeping their children safe are no exception. No parent should ever have to worry about affording basic products they need to keep their children healthy, and we're proud to partner with Baby2Baby on the launch of the diaper bank to provide these struggling parents with free diapers that can be accessed at food banks in their own communities."
A press release stated, “Benefit programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) do not cover diapers even for the most needy families, because they are not considered food. Therefore, most families rely on donated goods or must scrape limited resources together to meet the need. The problem is exacerbated for children in child care, because virtually all child care facilities require parents to provide diapers for their children. While 26% of New York families with children under the age of 3 receive federal child care support, there are no federal programs that help offset the cost of diapers that they can send with their children to day care. Twenty-one percent of families with children earn less than 100% of the federal poverty level, and the cost of diapers can consume up to 14% of a low-income family's budget.
Baby2Baby co-CEOs Norah Weinstein and Kelly Sawyer Patricof said, "We are so proud to partner with the state of New York to provide 20 million diapers to families impacted by COVID-19. Families living in poverty are always hit the hardest during any crisis, and COVID is no exception. The families we serve were already choosing between diapers and food for their babies, and when the pandemic began our requests immediately jumped 350% with moms and dads even resorting to making homemade diapers out of newspapers and towels. We hope that this donation provides relief to hundreds of thousands of New York parents and enables them to use their funds toward paying rent, putting food on the table and keeping their children safe."
The diaper bank is the latest in a series of policies championed by Cuomo to help New York's families care for their children. In 2016, he signed into law a comprehensive paid family leave policy. The governor continues to fight for funding equity in education, expanded full-day pre- K, launched New York's first 3-year-old pre-K program and expanded community school programs.
The New York State Cares + Baby2Baby Diaper Bank complements the Nourish New York program, which was first announced by the governor last April in response to the financial hardships New York's dairy farmers were facing with the loss of key markets and the significant, increased demand New York's food banks were seeing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Dec. 1, Nourish NY has resulted in $26.4 million in purchases for 17 million pounds of food. More than 1 million households have received New York products through food distributions and more than 4,000 farms have benefitted from the initiative. On Jan. 17, Cuomo announced $25 million to continue programs through the Nourish NY initiative as part of the 2021 State of the State agenda.
In the past 10 years, Baby2Baby has distributed more than 150 million items, including diapers, hygiene and clothing – more than any organization of its kind – to children in homeless shelters, domestic violence programs, foster care, hospitals and school districts, as well as to children across the country who have lost everything in the wake of disasters. Through its COVID-19 relief work, Baby2Baby distributed 50 million items in 2020 alone.