Spotlight On: Twice as Nice Mother & Child

FROM THE BOTTOM UP


Twice as Nice Mother & Child

While the list of must-have and thought-to-be-essential items for babies and toddlers is ever-changing, one of the most basic items is and will always be at the top—diapers. Diapers are vital to a baby’s health, well-being and happiness. But they can play a key role in the health and well-being of the family too. Babies need to have their diapers changed 10-12 times a day (8-10 for toddlers), which costs around $80 per month. For families facing financial struggles, the cost of diapers can be overwhelming, forcing some to decide between buying diapers, getting groceries or paying bills.
 
It is estimated that 1 in 3 families in the United States experience “diaper need” (which is the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep an infant or child clean, dry and healthy). And there are no state or federal child safety-net programs that provide funding to purchase diapers as they are considered “hygiene” products (so food stamps and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children cannot be used to purchase diapers). Recognizing how critical such a basic need is for so many families, Twice as Nice Mother & Child was founded in 2010 and works to “raise awareness about diaper need and to build a sustainable diaper program in Lake County.” Since joining the National Diaper Bank Network in 2014, the nonprofit has given away nearly 1.6 million diapers to county residents through its on-site Diaper Bank and its Mobile Diaper Pantry.
 
Twice as Nice Mother & Child’s Diaper Bank is directly partnered with more than 25 social service agencies and nonprofit organizations in Lake County (including GFF grantees A Safe Place, ChildServ, CYN Counseling Center, Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, Lake County Health Department, Nicasa, North Chicago Community Partners, Northern Illinois Food Bank, One Hope United and Round Lake Area School District) to identify the needs of their clients and to facilitate diaper distribution. The Diaper Bank is also able to provide free-of-charge diapers to families in need who are not yet connected with an agency through pick-up at its Mobile Diaper Pantry. In 2019, the Twice as Nice Diaper Bank distributed 707,957 diapers to Lake County families so that they can keep their young children clean, dry and healthy.
 
The Mobile Diaper Pantry program was launched in April 2018 to extend Twice as Nice Mother & Child’s reach into high-need communities (in Gurnee, Waukegan and Highwood) and to help even more families, who are struggling to afford diapers, fill the gap. The Mobile Diaper Pantry offers distributions four times each month at three locations. The pantry in Highwood is offered two times a month in coordination with the Northern Illinois Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry. Families registered for the mobile program can visit any of the three sites twice a month. The Mobile Diaper Pantry has been an overwhelming success—to date Twice as Nice Mother & Child has distributed more than 310,000 diapers to the 1,245 parents (and 1,648 children) that are registered. Diapers are delivered out of the organization’s packed-full minivan and a volunteer’s at-capacity 16-foot trailer (towed by the volunteer in his truck), so Twice as Nice Mother & Child is searching for a larger delivery truck to accommodate the continued growth of the program.
What is the impact of diaper need? Without diapers or proper diaper changes (parents experiencing diaper need sometimes reuse dirty diapers or don’t change diapers as often as needed), babies and toddlers run the risk of infections, diaper rash and other health problems that can require medical attention. Though the more hidden consequences of diaper need extend beyond health issues. Most childcare facilities (including subsidized childcare programs) require anywhere from a day’s worth to a week’s worth of diapers in order for children to attend their program. Parents experiencing diaper need are often unable to send their young children to childcare programs and therefore have to stay home from work or school, which leads to a continuation of the poverty cycle. The same is true for birth-to-three/five early childhood education programs outside of the home. Without a sufficient diaper supply, these young children are not able to attend invaluable early childhood education programs, which means they may miss out on learning the social and emotional skills that help young children be prepared for kindergarten and long-term success in school.

In addition to its diaper programs, Twice as Nice Mother & Child also meets the basic needs of children and families by suppling infant formula (as a supplement to the federal government’s WIC program) and gently used items such as children’s clothing, outwear and shoes (in 2019, Twice as Nice Mother & Child provided 29,536 clothing items, 271 coats and 666 pairs of shoes); maternity wear; infant care essentials and baby gear, including car seats, boosters, cribs, high chairs, strollers and pack ‘n plays (the nonprofit provided 267 pieces of baby gear in 2019); and age-appropriate books. Twice as Nice Mother & Child offers these basics to families with children up until the age of 12, making the nonprofit one of the few Lake County organizations that provide basic necessities to families with children older than five.

Twice as Nice Mother & Child estimates that its substantial 2019 distribution—707,957 diapers—is only filling 26 percent of the diaper need in Lake County. So, the nonprofit is working to extend its services and partnerships to best meet the current and future needs of Lake County families. Twice as Nice Mother & Child’s work is helping build the strong foundation that all children and families need to thrive—and it is accomplishing that from the bottom up.

Twice as Nice Mother & Child Success Story: Gabriel, 2, knows his colors and loves story time. His mother, Maria, did not finish high school. Because the diaper bank at Twice As Nice Mother & Child provides the diapers required by Gabriel’s early childhood education center, Maria has reliable childcare that allows her to work part-time and pursue her GED. “Gabriel and I both enjoy learning—and that would not be possible without the diapers that I receive from Twice As Nice Mother & Child,” Maria says. “As a single mom that doesn’t make much from my part-time job, I really need help with diapers so that I can pay my rent and have enough money left for groceries.”

Twice as Nice Mother & Child By the Numbers: 

Twice as Nice Mother & Child has given away nearly 1.6 million diapers to Lake County residents                         Every year, Twice
as Nice Mother
& Child distributes
450,000+ diapers
to Lake County
families through its
on-site Diaper Bank
and Mobile Diaper Pantry                                         
Twice as Nice Mother & Child’s Mobile Diaper Pantry offers diaper
distributions
4 times a month
at 3 locations in
Gurnee, Waukegan, Highwood            
For every $1,000 received, Twice as Nice Mother &
Child can provide a
one month supply
of diapers to
50 children           
Twice as Nice Mother & Child partners with 25 social service agencies and nonprofit organizations to assist Lake County families in need          In 2019, Twice as Nice Mother & Child helped meet the basic needs of more than 12,000 children

December 2019 Spotlight On: Northern Illinois Food Bank

November 2019 Spotlight On: Kohl Children’s Museum

October 2019 Spotlight On: CYN Counseling Center

September 2019 Spotlight On: Nicasa Teen Court

August 2019 Spotlight On: Family Service of Lake County Nuestro Center

July 2019 Spotlight On: Center for Conservation Leadership

June 2019 Spotlight On: Ragdale Foundation

May 2019 Spotlight On: Art Impact Project

April 2019 Spotlight On: Roberti Community House

March 2019 Spotlight On: Waukegan to College

February 2019 Spotlight On: Rosalind Franklin University

December 2018 Spotlight On: Beacon Place

November 2018 Spotlight On: Cristo Rey St. Martin