Families struggling to keep enough diapers on hand to make sure their infants and toddlers stay dry and healthy just got closer to getting a bit of help from the state. SB21-027 Emergency Supplies …
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Families struggling to keep enough diapers on hand to make sure their infants and toddlers stay dry and healthy just got closer to getting a bit of help from the state.
SB21-027 Emergency Supplies for Colorado Babies and Families passed a second reading in the state senate (with amendments) May 6.
The bill would require “the department of public health and environment to select one or more nonprofit organizations to administer diaper distribution centers that provide diapering essentials to eligible individuals.”
To draw attention to the issue, Senators Brittany Pettersen, (D) District 22, and Jessie Danielson, (D) District 20, along with Representative Kerry Tipper, (D) District 28, took part in a diaper drive at The Action Center in Lakewood.
“We know that women have been hit hardest during this pandemic — especially women of color,” Pettersen said. “So, this (the supplies) will go directly to help support those families that can’t even afford diapers right now — making sure their kids are healthy without having to compensate by using things like trash bags.”
She said it’s really a federal issue because WIC and SNAP do not cover diapering benefits.
“So, when you think about what families are going through, usually mid to late-month, they run out of money and the ability to buy diapers, so this is helping them get through this time and making sure our babies aren’t struggling with health conditions because of reusing diapers.”
Pettersen said lack of available diapers has an even larger effect on postpartum mothers than a lack of food.
Tipper, a new mother herself, said the importance of the issue is not lost on fellow House members, where the majority of members are women, and the majority of those women are mothers.
“This is a small gesture (the event), but we wanted to bring attention to the issue to families that have the ability to donate, and not just diapers, but other products that are really critical (wipes, diaper cream),” she said.
Danielson spoke about the urgency that still exists even as the pandemic starts to turn the corner.
“We’re still in a time of need and a time of trouble and if we can’t, as the state of Colorado, make sure that babies have the basics like diapers, we’re doing something very, very wrong,” she said. “So, I’m confident today that the vote (for SB21-027) will pass with strong support, and again tomorrow, and we can come back to Jeffco and say we’ve done right by you, and by the state. Put these resources in the hands of the families that need them most.”
The event was organized by the Jeffco Democrats.
The Action Center’s Senior Director of Operations, Carolyn Alexander, offered a gracious “thanks” for the donations. She said her organization has seen a skyrocketing increase in need for diapers (and everything else) since the pandemic started.
“I’m just getting goosebumps seeing new moms in the legislature passing bills for our families,” she said. “We give out 100-150 pounds of food (to families) and 20 diapers, because that’s all we have. And those 20 diapers last 2 days.”
At press time, a third reading of SB21-027 had not been voted on.
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