May 12, 2017 (San Diego) The San Diego Food Bank, in association with San Diego Gas and Electric, the Building Trades, Cox Communications, Sharp, American Medical Response and others, established a diaper bank. They were supported in this effort by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-AD89). Why is this important?
As Gonzalez pointed out to Reporting San Diego, diapers, or lack off, can be a barrier to full-time employment and a significant issue for those in poverty and who are food insecure. “The diaper gap is one of the biggest issues, and often unspoken issues when it comes to poverty.”
Gonzalez added, “You cannot keep a child in childcare, You cannot be consistent with a job without diapers.” This is something that Gonzalez will continue to work at. She also has brought legislation twice to remove the sales tax from diapers, but both times this bill has been defeated since they do need to find a funding source to replace the money that otherwise would enter the state coffers.
Here are some relevant data points when it comes to diapers and babies.
- 58 percent of women in the workforce will care for an infant at some point
- Disposable diapers cost anywhere from $70-80 dollars per month
- Daycares require parents to provide diapers for their babies or they will not be accepted.
- Diapers cannot be obtained using either Women, Infant and Children money, or Cal Fresh
At the end of the month, many women no longer have diapers, which prevents them from going to work. This depends on the cycle of poverty and having tax free diapers, or access to diapers though the food bank will help to break the cycle of poverty. As James Floros, President, and CEO of the San Diego Food Bank put it, they are trying hard to take themselves out of business.
He also gave some statistics:
- 467,000 people are food insecure in San Diego County.
- The Foodbank reaches 370,000 every month
We can add a few others from the 2014-15 annual report
- The Foodbank assist 28,000 low-income military families every month.
- 700,000 tons of food were distributed to veterans, active duty and dependents
- This year, the Food Bank distributed 22 million pounds of food to San Diego County which is the equivalent of 18.3 million meals.
- A third (7.2 million pounds) of the food we distributed last year was fresh produce.
- The Food Bank served, on average, over 370,000 people per month in communities and cities throughout San Diego County.
- The Food Bank provided weekend backpacks full of food to 1,600 chronically hungry school children at 34 elementary schools every Friday during the school year.
- The Food Bank provided 8,400 low-income seniors a box of groceries and staple food items at 45 distribution sites throughout the county every month.
- Over 100,000 people were enrolled in our Emergency Food Assistance Program in 2014.
The organization can implement a program like a diaper bank easily since it is a local organization. It can turn on a dime. He added, that there is a science to what they are doing, and they “want to lift people out of poverty.”
He gave one scenario That be a single mother that is qualified for Cal Fresh and gets a job. This job will help her get to break the cycle. She gets subsidies, day care, but what she does not get are diapers. Those diapers can be a real barrier for that woman to break the cycle of poverty.
The bank collected about 100,000 diapers that will serve as the seed for the program.
Johnny Swanson, a local ironworker, was instrumental in this effort. He is an Ironworker, and part of the building trades. He talked about this project with his business manager, Johnny Galvan and Carol Kim. It was about doing something for the community. Galvan told him to “let’s go ahead and do it.”
When all was said and done they collected 70,000 diapers at job sites all over. The building trades Union got very involved.
Today, members of the trade were at the Food bank, together with high school students, and San Diego Gas and Electric employees, unloaded vehicles and trucks. They passed boxes of diapers hand over hand.