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Local organizations dealing with large demand for diapers

Posted at 6:31 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 20:15:29-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Organizations like The Life House the Open Door Mission's Lydia House are filling a need far too great.

"The statistic holds true, one in three families has a need for diapers and cannot provide enough clean diapers for their children," said Anna Lehotyak, the development director of the Life House.

Since diapers aren't covered by most federal safety net programs, Lehotyak says costs can be as high as $70-80 a month, falling squarely on the family's shoulders.

"That can represent up to 14% of a low-income family's monthly income," Lehotyak said.

Open Door Mission's Candace Gregory has seen mothers go to enormous lengths to maintain supplies for their kids.

"You know, over the years, we've seen many mothers tend to go back to their domestic violence partner because they can't meet the basic need for their children, so they'll do a lot to provide for their children even in unhealthy situations," Gregory said.

Gregory says mothers always use every measure they can to stretch out their diaper supply.

"We often see that mothers will use the diapers longer to try to stretch them farther, so you get a lot of diaper rash, and then we see a lot of times, mothers trying to wear smaller diapers on their children than they need because again, that's what they can afford," Gregory said.

The Life House experienced an increase in diaper distribution of 107% in 2020, due to COVID-19.

"COVID-19 was unique in that we were still serving all the low-income families, also a lot of people lost jobs so we were serving people who found themselves in situational poverty, that was unlike anything we had ever seen before," Tegan Reed, the executive director of The Life House said.

With a changing economy, Gregory is seeing limits to purchase goods like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and bottled water. She clings onto hope that won't be the case with diapers.

"We really felt the effects of that, we are running short, like many of us in our community, it's really hard to get ahead of our supply, but our diaper supply is lower than it's ever been in the last 26 years that I've been here," Gregory said.

To donate diapers to the Life House, click here. To give to Open Door Mission, click here.

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