Pingree Announces Nearly $1 Million to Expand Diaper Distribution Networks in Maine
Diaper need can prevent children from attending child care, caregivers from going to work, and families from achieving self-sufficiency
Washington, September 20, 2023
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced Maine was awarded a $990,992 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Diaper Distribution Pilot. This award will help the Maine Community Action Partnership (MeCAP) support caregivers with young children who are facing economic hardship and are working toward self-sufficiency, with a focus on families in eight Maine counties and tribal areas. MeCAP will also take advantage of the diversity of home visitation and other family-facing programs available through partner agencies, focusing on Maine families that have historically been marginalized by poverty, disability, geographic location, substance use disorder, and other external factors.
“Diapers are essential to a child’s health and well-being. But maintaining an adequate supply is expensive and, unfortunately, federal assistance programs like SNAP and WIC still cannot be used to purchase diapers,” said Pingree. “With this new funding, the Maine Community Action Partnership will help caregivers who struggle to maintain enough diapers to keep their children safe, dry, and healthy, and will lift barriers to connect low-income families across Maine.”
On top of the average cost of $11,700 per year for child care in Maine, diapers alone can cost 8% of a person’s total income if they are making the federal minimum wage. In Maine grocery stores, a 100-pack of diapers costs around $30.
The consequences of diaper need extend beyond the physical health of children; without a sufficient supply of diapers, families with low incomes face significant obstacles to their economic mobility and security. Diaper need can prevent children from attending child care, caregivers from going to work, and families from achieving self-sufficiency.
The Diaper Distribution Pilot, within HHS’ Office of Community Services (OCS), is awarding $8.1 million to support seven new grant awards. Maine is a part of the third cohort of grant recipients. With this award, the Diaper Distribution Pilot, which is the first-ever federally funded program for diaper assistance will now serve 18 states and three tribal nations, through more than $24 million in grant awards. The Diaper Distribution Pilot helps caregivers with diaper need and connects families to wraparound social services to address the causes and consequences of poverty.