Jefferson City group working to open diaper bank

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JEFFERSON CITY – One group in Jefferson City is working to open a diaper bank in the mid-Missouri area.

The group, Diapers for Jefferson City, currently distributes diapers to families that need them through a Parents as Teachers program.

Katie Epema, the group’s coordinator, said the group gave diapers to 65 families in 2016. The group gave away about 7,500 diapers.

The group received diapers from donations and diaper drives, but wants to do more, Epema said. “We have found over the last several years that a lot of families have a need for diapers and there just aren’t a lot of places in Jefferson City that can provide them.”

According to the National Diaper Bank Network, diapers can cost $70-80 a month. One in three American families report experiencing diaper need.

Monica Beasley received diapers from the group for her daughter. “It really has helped out a lot, especially when we’ve hit hard times. And anytime we do need diapers, our parent educator’s only a phone call away.”

Her husband, Jeffrey Beasley, said he likes the idea of a diaper bank so they can “pay it forward” when they are able to. “It’s opened my eyes to the generosity of Jefferson City,” he said.

Epema said there may be health-related consequences for children if they do not have enough diapers. She said parents may leave children in diapers for extended periods, even a day, if the family is out of diapers.

Epema said she’s had the idea for a diaper bank for a few years now. After forming focus groups, Epema said Diapers for Jefferson City had enough support to move forward.

The group’s next step is to form a board of directors and raise money to apply as a non-profit organization.

Epema said the group’s long-term goal is to get enough diapers to distribute to other organizations.

“We’re just excited to go ahead and move forward with this,” she said.

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