Austin Diaper Bank has provided families the resources they need in these difficult times, and after a decade, they show no signs of slowing down.
By Georgia Valles, Photos courtesy of Austin Diaper Bank
In a study by the National Diaper Bank Network, it was discovered that 1 in 2 U.S. families struggle with obtaining diapers for their children. Austin Diaper Bank explains how 1 in 3 families in Central Texas report going without enough diapers each month. Like many household items, diapers became increasingly difficult for families to purchase after COVID-19. In 2022, the Austin Diaper Bank gave out over 1.9 million diapers to families all over Central Texas.
“The generosity of our community helped make this possible,” says Austin Diaper Bank Executive Director Holly McDaniel. “Through donations of diapers and funds we use to buy diapers from manufacturers.”
Founded in 2013, Austin Diaper Bank’s mission is to provide families with resources like diapers, wipes and period supplies. Their rapid growth has helped more than 30,000 families every year. “Each month, we give out over 150,000 diapers to families needing extra help with their basic needs,” McDaniel says. They hold an annual event called Austin Diaper Bank Bash. It is a fundraising event to help raise awareness and funds for their efforts. The event helps provide 150,000 diapers each month to six Central Texas counties. In September, they celebrated 10 years.
“We get the opportunity to celebrate together and raise funds to buy diapers that will help a mom or caregiver,” explains McDaniel. “The Bash is more successful each year, which shows the kindness of our community.”
McDaniel has been in leadership positions for nonprofit organizations all over Austin and California for more than 20 years. She started working with Austin Diaper Bank in 2017, and she has been able to help the organization grow and transform to help families all over Central Texas. “I was thankful to find an organization that is truly making a difference in the lives of families every day,” she explains. With her team of four people, the bank has already provided one million diapers to families in 2023.
The Bank partners with agencies, food/emergency pantries and health care centers to distribute supplies to families. They have also worked with State Representative Donna Howard for the past six years to remove the diaper tax. This went into effect on Sept. 1; the organization estimates that the bill can save families up to $100 per year.
“This year, we helped remove the sales tax on diapers, wipes and period supplies,” McDaniel says. “Not only do we provide material assistance, but we also advocate for policy change at the state and local levels to help families living in poverty. Now every family in Texas will have an easier time affording the diapers they need each day for their babies.”
Next, Austin Diaper Bank hopes to spend time focusing on rural areas in Texas as part of its expansion plans. In 2020, it was reported that the poverty rate in rural Texas was 15.8%, compared to the 13.2% in urban areas. McDaniel explains, “Poverty rates increase in more rural areas. We plan to reach more families who can’t get into Austin for help. Ultimately, our goal is to make sure every baby goes to sleep each night in clean and dry diapers.”