The Village Diaper Bank fills unseen need in South-Central Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Right now, 13 percent of children under the age of four in Dane County are living below the federal poverty line, and families are making tough decision on how and when they will get clean diapers on their children.
The Village Diaper Bank is serving families in Dane and Green Counties. The CEO and founder, Megan Sollenberger didn’t know what a diaper bank was three years ago.
“A diaper bank is similar to a food pantry, except we provide diapers and other essentials for babies,” says Sollenberger.
The Village Diaper Bank, formerly known as the Dane County Diaper Bank, operated out of a 900-square feet office basement in Verona. With need for clean diapers increasing, it moved into its new location on Marsh Court on Madison’s East Side in February.
After seeing an NBC15 story on the diaper bank in September 2020, Regina Albano was inspired to help those in need.
“I would definitely provide for my children over myself,” says Albano. “So, I’m sure there are people making decisions that they won’t eat as well or as much so they have the extra money to buy diapers for their children.”
The retired teacher and grandmother of two is one of six regular volunteers working at the diaper bank that serves eight partner agencies who distribute diapers to families.
“In October 2018, we distributed diapers to 39 kids, which ended up being about 3,600 diapers,” says Sollenberger. “Today, we are distributing about 50,000 diapers a month to more than 500 children. The pandemic has certainly accelerated that pattern.”
In 24 hours, a newborn will average eight to twelve diapers a day. At about $0.22 per diaper, it quickly adds up to families spending roughly $75 a month on diapers per child.
“To think that a child is sitting in a dirty diaper or using a plastic bag and just reusing them. It is just as needed as food,” says Albano. “They can’t sleep. They can’t be their best selves if they are uncomfortable, wet and unhappy.”
Regina sometimes spends eight hours a week to help out those she will never meet. For her, the hours spent at The Village Diaper Bank goes deeper than the diapers.
“If I can be that grandparent for somebody else and provide something for them it’s all worth it.”
People can donate unused or brand-new disposable diapers to the NBC15 Diaper Drive from Feb. 18 through Feb. 25. Online donations are also being accepted, by clicking here.
On Feb. 25, NBC15 is hosting a Diaper Donation Drive-Thru at The Village Diaper Bank at 21 Marsh Court in Madison from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Online donations on Feb. 25 will be matched up to $20,000 by generous sponsors. One dollar can provide up to seven diapers, thanks to the buying power of The Village Diaper Bank. That means up to 140,000 diapers could be purchased to help families in need.
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