This last week, I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the National Diaper Bank Network’s US Conference on Poverty & Basic Needs 2022 in Orlando, Florida. I was absolutely thrilled to be a first-time in person attendee (last year was virtual and I think we all have Zoom fatigue). Meeting NDBN staff and board members, as well as other nonprofit leaders from all over the country was incredible – and gave me many ideas to bring back to the team about service delivery.

My breakout session was on our organization’s rebrand, and how focusing on our mission allowed us to be better with our programming. While we try hard, we have a significant amount of work to do to ensure that Western North Dakota families are supported during the crucial first few years. The cost of everything is going up due to inflation and supply chain issues – and unfortunately wages are not going up, and childcare availability is scarce. With 1 in 3 Americans experiencing diaper need, it is our duty to help not only the families staying in our emergency shelter program, but the many North Dakotans just one missed paycheck away from eviction.

Unfortunately, WIC and SNAP benefits do not allow for the purchase of diapers for the youngest participants of these programs. Without diapers, caregivers cannot leave their child(ren) in daycare facilities so that they can have the opportunity to better their situation through employment or education.

We need more policy to keep the next generation clean, healthy, and happy. North Dakota’s very own Kevin Cramer has been an advocate for policy change such as the End Diaper Need Act. We appreciate Senator Cramer and his team working alongside our own team and the National Diaper Bank Network as we collaborate to create a better future.

– Liz Larsen, Executive Director

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