Founded in 2010, the DC Diaper Bank is a non-profit organization that seeks to put an end to #diaperneed by providing diapers to the 1 in 3 families throughout the DMV that struggle to purchase them. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to speak with Corinne Cannon, owner and founder of the DC Diaper Bank. She took the time to answer some questions about this incredible organization and the work they are doing in the region.
Doulas Of Northern VA: Hi Corinne, Thank you so much for chatting with us today!
Corinne: Thank you!
DONVA: The work you are doing in this region is amazing and so needed. But with all the items that a new family needs: a car seat, crib, clothing, why did you decide to collect diapers?
Corinne: When we had our first child I was really blown away by how expensive all the “little things” were – from the diapers to the clothes, wipes, gear, it was a lot! When I found out that food stamps and WIC funds don’t cover diapers AND that they were the most demanded items for local nonprofits working with moms, I knew I needed to do something.
DONVA: It sounds like that something is the DC Diaper Bank!
DONVA: So how did the diaper bank get started?
Corinne: As I mentioned, we had our first son, Jack, who was a very challenging baby. He was colicky, restless, high needs, and even with amazing family support and resources to care for us I was blow away by just how hard it was to be a parent. After one particularly trying moment that left me in tears, I began thinking about all the other mothers out there. The mother that are less fortunate and don’t have that network, that village of support around them. The mothers who can’t walk away to just breathe or cry when things get hard. Where do they turn? I began researching ways to help these women and their families and that’s when I learned how needed diapers how and how little options were available for those needing them. I decided I wanted to volunteer at a local diaper bank in DC, only to discover there wasn’t one. So, I started my own. In October of 2010, on Jack’s first birthday, the DC Diaper bank was established.
DONVA: What an incredible story. So how does the DC Diaper Bank work? Once a diaper is donated and received by you, what is the process of getting them to a family in need?
Corinne: Great question. We wouldn’t be able to do the work we do without our incredible team of volunteers. They are the workhorse behind all of this. After we receive diapers, our volunteers organize them by size, then package them into group of 25 diapers. After, partner organizations pick up the number of diapers their families need and they are then distributed to families in need. We actually have a great video that we’d love if you shared!
DONVA: Of course! To learn more about how diapers reach families in need, check out this great video.
DONVA: You mentioned your volunteers. Tell us more about them.
Corinne: We are a volunteer-powered organization! Every year we welcome over 800 volunteers at our Warehouse – some come for a couple hours, some volunteer with us every week, and we love them all! We couldn’t do this work without the incredible support of this volunteer army.
DONVA: If someone doesn’t have the time to volunteer, what are some other ways they could support your organization?
Corinne: The best way is with dollars and his or her voice! We need both funds to run the programs and people to think about, talk about, and organize around the issue of parenting in poverty. I will happily take your diapers and wipes, too! In the last several years we have developed very effective channels for bringing diapers in the door so it’s a far less pressing need than funds are, but it’s still a need!
DONVA: How many diapers do you receive each month?
Corinne: Each month we distribute 150,000 diapers to 4,000 families across the region – and GROWING! We plan on adding several distribution partners in 2017 to help reach more families throughout DC, VA, and MD. We actually recently hit our three millionth diaper donated this summer which was a huge celebration in our warehouse!
DONVA: Congratulations! That is definitely worth celebrating! So what are you hoping for in the long term? Where would you like to see the DC Diaper Bank end up?
Corinne: I really would love to go out of business! I dream of a day when all our babies and all our families have what they need to thrive. We’re looking at ways to make the dream more of a reality, from advocacy and legislative work to reduce the price that families pay for diapers and hygiene items to better gathering information on our impact with our families so we can offer more help in the areas most needed. In the short term, I would like to see the DC Diaper Bank expand what we are able to offer our families on a regular basis – while we offer wipes and tampons and adults diapers the supply is often inconsistent. We also need to reach more families – the need in the area is massive and while we are helping many there are many more who need us to grow.
DONVA: This is all so wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us and share your organization with our readers! We are thrilled with the work you are doing in this area and look forward to partnering with you again for our 2nd annual No Child Wet Behind 5k, Diaper Drive, and Family Fun Day in May 2017.
Corinne: Thank you, again! It was my pleasure and we are so excited for another great event this year!
To learn more about the DC Diaper and how you can support their mission, visit their website at www.dcdiaperbank.org.
To learn more about how Doulas of Northern Virginia is partnering with them for our 2nd Annual No Child Wet Behind 5k, Diaper Drive, and Family Fun Day, and how you can help, visit our website at www.doulasofnorthernva.com/NCWB
To make a diaper donation right from the comfort of your own home, visit our Amazon Wishlist. Donations will be shipped directly to us and donated to the DC Diaper Bank.