Continued Funding for Diaper Distribution Program Passed
Original Diaper Distribution Program Passed in 2021, Helping Nearly 55,000 Individuals
Beyond the reality of severe illness from COVID-19, the global impact of the pandemic reverberated throughout our society – closing schools and child care, layoffs and lower earnings, increased price of everyday household items – to name a few. These issues impacted women, especially women of color, more severely.
In 2021, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado partnered with WeeCycle and the Women’s Lobby as part of a coalition of statewide organizations to advance a bill to provide funding for diapers throughout Colorado. SB21-027 Emergency Supplies for Colorado Babies and Families established a diaper distribution program.
From Lake County Health serving Leadville to Foodbank of Larimer County serving Northern Colorado to WeeCycle serving the Metro Area and communities throughout the state through their mobile unit – 54,991 individuals were provided with almost $2 million in diapering essentials in more than half of Colorado’s counties.
“Diaper need is a public health issue that should continue to be addressed at the policy level,” according to WeeCycle. “While we provided 4.65 million diapers to children across the state of Colorado, we are still only scraping the surface of the need that exists.”
In 2023, accessing diapers remains a challenge for low-income families
In 2023, affording diapers is still a challenge for many families, exacerbated by inflation. Although more than 5 million babies and toddlers in the U.S. live in low-income families, most government programs don’t provide diapers or funding to purchase them.
WFCO supported a budget item during the 2023 legislative session that would continue funding for the diaper distribution program. We are pleased that the Colorado legislature approved $2,002,005 in the state budget to provide diapering essentials throughout the state. We thank the Colorado Department of Human Services, members of the Joint Budget Committee, and all members of the General Assembly for supporting economic equity.
There seems to be no end in sight to the increased prices of diapers, with both Proctor & Gamble, the maker of Pampers, and Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Huggies, announcing price increases later this year. As the only statewide community foundation advancing gender, racial, and economic equity, WFCO will continue to advocate for state funding for diapers and for diapers to be exempted from state and local sales tax. We will ensure our partners are at the table when these discussions happen.
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the inclusion of $2 million for diapering essentials in Colorado 2023-2024 State Budget and join the Don’t Tax Dignity Coalition to ensure that essential products are exempted at the local level. While we’ve made progress we need to continue to work together to ensure that no family in Colorado goes without essential products like diapers.
Please also register for one of our two end-of-session celebrations on May 18 (virtual) and June 1 (in person at our offices).
Photo courtesy of WeeCycle.