United Way diaper drive returns

All types of disposable diapers at the United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region’s Greenfield offices on Davis Street.

All types of disposable diapers at the United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region’s Greenfield offices on Davis Street. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region Program Manager Jenny Coeur and Executive Director Geoff Naunheim, pictured with diapers at the Greenfield offices on Davis Street in 2022.

United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region Program Manager Jenny Coeur and Executive Director Geoff Naunheim, pictured with diapers at the Greenfield offices on Davis Street in 2022. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 06-21-2024 2:30 PM

United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region continues to effect “change” as it holds another diaper drive through June 30.

The nonprofit is partnering with Greenfield Savings Bank, the Northampton Radio Group, the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Greenfield Recorder to try to collect the nearly 14,000 diapers it distributes to 14 local agencies via its diaper bank each month. The diaper bank has been running in Franklin County since 2014 and in Hampshire County since 2015.

“I think it’s only grown since all of this started. The need continues to grow and I think people’s awareness of the diaper bank has continued to grow with it,” Program Manager Jenny Coeur said. “And it’s recognized a lot more these days, I would say.”

Donations can be made online anytime via United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region’s Amazon wishlist or in person at more than 30 donation sites across Franklin and Hampshire counties. For more information about how to donate or to host a donation drop-off box at your organization or business, visit uw-fh.org/diaper-drive, call 413-584-3962, ext. 102, or email info@uw-fh.org.

United Way also accepts monetary donations made online and by check. Greenfield Savings Bank, the 2024 diaper drive’s presenting sponsor, is matching all monetary donations up to $10,000.

United Way encourages donors to contribute larger diaper sizes for children — specifically sizes 4, 5 and 6 — because they are often more difficult to find at local pantries. Pull-up training pants are also needed. Days of action will include a standout at Stop & Shop in Northampton from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 22, and at Walmart in Ware from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 29.

According to United Way, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont and the Greater Boston Food Bank in March 2022 found that 36% of Massachusetts families with young children could not afford enough diapers for their children. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits cannot be used to buy diapers. Coeur said need increased during the pandemic and supply-chain issues, increased shipping costs and inflation continue to pinch families.

“It’s definitely still an issue,” she said. “We’re still seeing the same need.”

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Coeur said United Way distributes about 10,000 additional diapers per month thanks to the federal Diaper Distribution Demonstration & Research Pilot program that disseminates money to the Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP), which in turn gives money to the diaper bank and similar efforts.