The Women’s Lobby of Colorado today unveiled a $4 million plan from four state lawmakers aiming to provide diapers and hygienic products for families hard hit by the financial fallout from COVID-19.
“This pandemic has shown us just how easy it is for parents to lose their jobs and fall into a situation where they must make impossible choices,” Women’s Lobby of Colorado Board Chair Anna Ramirez Crawford said in a release. “As a society, we need systems to help them through this pandemic and to help other families in the future.”
The plan comes in the form of legislation from Sens. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, and Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, as well as Reps. Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood, and Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver. A draft of the bill shared with Colorado Politics would require the state Department of Public Health and Environment to partner with nonprofits with existing networks to set up distribution centers across the state for diapers, wipes and diaper creams.
Eligibility would be determined by the distribution centers and the legislation would appropriate $2 million per year over the next two fiscal years.
The bill comes as advocates say the demand for diapers has surged in the midst of the pandemic. The National Diaper Bank Network estimates diaper need is up 300% while one of Colorado's largest diaper banks distributed 1.1 million diapers last year after originally planning to distribute 300,000.
“As a new mom, I know first-hand how hard it is to balance taking care of your baby, juggling your job, and living through a pandemic — and that’s with having all of the necessary supplies,” Pettersen said in a release. “It is devastating to think about the challenges families are going through unnecessarily which is why we are bringing a bill to fix it, ensuring parents have the essential supplies they need to take care of their babies.”