Since 2014, the Junior League of Daytona Beach has distributed 600,000 diapers in Volusia and Flagler counties.
The Junior League currently operates the only diaper bank in both counties and partners with other nonprofit agencies — Halifax Urban Ministries, Healthy Start Coalition and Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia, to name a few — to serve families in need.
This July, the Junior League saw its largest distribution: 11,283 diapers.
"The need is increasing and growing," Junior League President Amie Story said. "We've had several partners reach out just in the last couple of weeks. We're at the point where we have to put partners on a waitlist until we can get more supplies."
Sept. 18-24 is National Diaper Need Awareness Week, and 17 local businesses are hosting diaper drives to benefit the Junior League's diaper bank, which was founded in 2014. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, 1 in 2 U.S. families struggle with diaper need. It costs a family, on average, about $80 for a month's supply of diapers, which are not covered by food stamps.
The diaper drive will help the Junior League, an all-volunteer organization, continue to try to meet the local need. The Junior League spends over $10,000 a year of its fundraised dollars to purchase diapers for its bank, so community support, both monetary and through hosting drives, is essential, Story said.
"Every dollar, every diaper, absolutely helps us to be able to fulfill our mission and fulfill the gap in our community," she said.
Roni PeGee, community director-elect for the Junior League, said that the drives during National Diaper Need Awareness Week are especially important as the Junior League's inventory dwindles.
"I think the need has probably always been there, but now that people are aware, they're tapping into us," PeGee said. "... Plenty of people live paycheck to paycheck, or under, and with everything else going up, diapers are going up too."
The Junior League has a membership of 256 women. PeGee has been a member since 2014. Story has been a member since 2015. A lot of their members are moms or grandmothers, Story said, and if they don't have a child of their own, they likely have bought diapers for a baby shower and seen how expensive they can be.
"I don't think a lot of people, until you're in that moment, understand the financial burden that puts on a lot of families," Story said.
What families look like these days also varies, PeGee added. They could be single-mother or single-father households, or grandparents raising grandchildren on their fixed incomes.
"I think that's one of the stigmas that may be out there — that this is like a poor person's problem or something, but it's not true," PeGee said. "It's just a human problem."