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Diaper Bank in 'urgent' need of child & senior diapers, period supplies
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Diaper Bank in 'urgent' need of child & senior diapers, period supplies

  • Sellers Patton/CC BY 2.0

The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona has issued “urgent summer appeal” for diaper donations for seniors and children as families struggle to afford the rising costs of basic needs.

On Wednesday, the local nonprofit group reported emergency-level shortages of "essential" supplies, including:

  • Children’s diaper sizes 5 and 6
  • All toddler sizes
  • Adult pull-ups in medium, large, XL, and XXL
  • Menstrual pads
  • Tampons

In-kind donations can be dropped off at the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, 1050 S. Plumer Ave. Cash donations are also welcome and can be made online at diaperbank.org.

“Families—and seniors especially—are finding it more challenging to afford diapers, incontinence supplies, and period supplies due to the current prices of food, housing, and other basic needs,” the Diaper Bank wrote in a press release. “Incontinence supplies are critical for maintaining one’s dignity, independence, and comfort in their daily life.”

All donations go to “families and seniors most affected by the rising costs of inflation,” according to the Diaper Bank.

The annual inflation rate reported in June was 9.1 percent, which marked the largest single-year increase since 1981, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Several states are ending sales tax on infant and adult diapers, but Arizona is one of 31 states that still taxes both diaper types, Stateline reported.

Nationwide, 1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers for their children, according to the Diaper Bank, which also reports that “of those families, 60 percent of parents have missed work or school because they did not have enough diapers for daycare.”

“A lack of diapers has more direct consequences for children, as prolonged wear of a soiled diaper may lead to diaper rash or skin infections,” the local group said. “When faced with diaper needs, families may even forgo buying other basic needs such as food to afford them.”

The 2021 average cost of a monthly supply of diapers was about $80 in Arizona, according to the National Diaper Bank Network. No federal assistance programs offer to cover the cost of diapers except Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, but families use most of their TANF to pay for heat, electric and water bills, rent, clothing and transportation.

Several diaper assistance programs exist in Pima County and Tucson, including emergency diaper and wipes assistance at the Hands of Hope Tucson and formula, diaper and clothing assistance at the Tucson-based Reachout Women's Center. Pima County also lists Casa de Los Niños, the New Life Pregnancy Center and the Pima County WIC Program as sources for diaper and infant support.

More than 50 diapers per individual per month were donated by the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona and its sister organization in Phoenix, according to a 2021 NDBN report.

Both groups are dealing with “a growing concern” about the need for adult incontinence supplies as the state’s aging population increases, the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona reports. Pima County has one of the highest concentrations of elderly adults in the southwest, according to the Diaper Bank, and more than 12,000, or about 8.5 percent, of the county’s elderly population live below the federal poverty level

Bennito L. Kelty is TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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