Food Bank of North Alabama establishes Tennessee Valley “Diaper Bank”

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Great Diaper Drive is back and poised to make a bigger impact than ever before.

After 2015's record collection of more than 80,000 diapers and wipes for local babies in need, WHNT News 19 and Rocket City Mom were inspired to think bigger!

So, we brought together community partners and are proud to announce the establishment of the Tennessee Valley's first-ever diaper bank for disposable diapers and wipes: The Diaper Bank at the Food Bank of North Alabama.

"We are so excited to announce that the Food Bank of North Alabama has been accepted into the National Diaper Bank Network," said Kathryn Strickland, the Food Bank's Executive Director.

The establishment of a Diaper Bank does several good things. For one, it expands the reach of our Diaper Drive in a way not previously possible.

As a member of the NDBN, the Food Bank will be able to purchase diapers and wipes in bulk at a reduced cost. It can then distribute them quickly and easily to non-profits working on behalf of families in every Tennessee Valley county. Donations to The Great Diaper Drive this year will help get the Diaper Bank rolling; filling up pallets to be distributed to agencies like Manna House and Crisis Services of North Alabama.

Some of the more than 80,000 diapers and wipes collected for The Great Diaper Drive in 2015.

Some of the more than 80,000 diapers and wipes collected for The Great Diaper Drive in 2015.

Another benefit of having a diaper bank is that it will operate all year long. While annual campaigns like The Great Diaper Drive can do a lot to help struggling parents in the short term; the demand is constant. Job loss is always possible, even in an improving economy.  Also, domestic violence forces mothers to flee with their children every day.

Having a Diaper Bank will help provide a more steady stream of diapers and wipes to the agencies serving these desperate parents.

What about cloth you might ask? There are some great existing organizations in the Tennessee Valley, including the North Alabama Cloth Diaper Bank, providing cloth options. Unfortunately, cloth is not a workable option for many parents.

WHNT News 19 and Rocket City Mom launched The Great Diaper Drive in 2013, after learning from local non-profits that babies in our own community were going without clean diapers.  Parents were so desperate they would skip changes or re-use soiled diapers. Going without clean diapers can raise a child's risk for illness and abuse and we couldn't let it continue.

A monster stack showing some of the diapers collected during our The Great Diaper Drive in 2013.

A monster stack showing some of the diapers collected during our The Great Diaper Drive in 2013.

So, we gave you a way to help and you responded. Now, just a few short years later, thanks only to the Tennessee Valley's amazing generosity, The Diaper Bank is here!

To support The Great Diaper Drive 2016, click here to get a list of donation locations or an online donation link!

We also invite you to host your own "Diaper Shower" at home, the office or church between now and Thursday, September 29th! Click here for some awesome printable posters, social e-cards and more!