United Way hopes to address ‘serious need’ with diaper drive

  • Geoff Naunheim, director of community investment with the United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region, with a stock of diapers in the Greenfield office. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 10/19/2021 4:30:30 PM

GREENFIELD — The United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region is hosting its first dual-county diaper drive through Oct. 23.

“There just aren’t diaper banks out there, and this is a pretty serious need,” said Geoff Naunheim, director of community investment.

Referencing a March report by the National Diaper Bank Network, Naunheim said there are nearly 213,000 children under age 3 living in Massachusetts, 17% of whom are in families living below the poverty line while another 12% experience near poverty.

“Diapers cost $100 per month, if not more per child,” he said. “Newborns are going through 12 diapers a day. When you match that up with poverty rates in Franklin County — and regionally — it’s a huge problem.”

Anecdotally, diapers are one of the most requested items, he added, and they aren’t covered by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program benefits.

“Prices are going up right now,” Naunheim said. “All of the major diaper distributors have reported that their prices are going to go up this fall. That’s going to hit families even harder, that’s going to hit pantries that supply diapers to families. It’s a big deal.”

In particular, United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region encourages donors to give larger sizes that are often harder to find at local pantries, specifically sizes 4, 5 and 6, as well as pull-up training pants.

Contributions will help the nonprofit collect the more than 100,000 diapers it distributes each year via its diaper bank, to 15 local pantries supporting the two counties, according to a United Way press release.

Donations can be made online through United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region’s Amazon wish list or in person at one the many donation sites around Franklin and Hampshire counties.

Cash donations, which will go directly toward supporting its dual-county diaper bank, can also be made.

In Greenfield, the donation sites are as follows:

■Baystate Franklin Medical Center, 164 High St.

■Big Y, 237 Mohawk Trail

■Franklin County’s YMCA, 451 Main St.

■Franklin County Community Development Corporation, 324 Wells St.

■United Way office at 51 Davis St., Unit 2

The final day of the drive, on Saturday, Oct. 23, United Way volunteers will collect diapers at the Greenfield Farmers’ Market from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

A complete list of in-person donation sites, as well as links for donating online, can be found at uw-fh.org/diaper-drive.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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