Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing the COVID-19 Diaper Assistance Act, legislation that would provide $200 million in one-time, emergency funds through the Social Services Block Grant program for diaper assistance.
“Diaper banks play a critical role in our communities by helping families keep their babies healthy and safe. These nonprofits distribute tens of millions of diapers annually, but the pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have created unprecedented demand for these services,” said Senator Collins. “This bipartisan bill would support struggling families who are in critical need of diaper assistance as we continue to combat COVID-19.”
“The challenge of access to diapers affects thousands of families across the state of Maine, and we have seen the need increase exponentially over the past year. Diapers are expensive, and cannot be purchased through SNAP or other Federal or State benefit programs,” said Molly Curren Rowles, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine. “Dedicated funding will allow us to continue to keep pace with the growing need, ensuring that this critical item is available for babies and young children so they can grow in health and security.”
Prior to the pandemic, nonprofit diaper bank distribution only met five to six percent of diaper needs. Since the start of COVID-19, many diaper banks throughout the country have experienced triple the increase in demand for diapers. Nonprofits alone cannot fully address this public health and economic crisis that impacts one in three families in the United States.
Last year, Senator Collins joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing a resolution recognizing the importance of diaper banks across the country, including acknowledging the important role diaper banks play in the aftermath of natural disasters.
In addition to Senator Collins, the legislation was introduced by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Click HERE to read the full text of the bill.