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How Milwaukee Diaper Mission Is Helping Families Meet Diaper Needs

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With unemployment still high, more Milwaukee families are struggling to pay the bills and are having to make difficult decisions on how much they can spend on diapers for their children. But Milwaukee Diaper Mission hopes to help.

As the pandemic drags on and unemployment remains high, people continue to struggle. That struggle can mean difficult choices on how to spend money — pay the electric bill or buy groceries? For people with young children, buying diapers and sanitary products only further complicates the equation.

The Milwaukee Diaper Mission hopes to become a resource for people so they don’t have to make that difficult decision. The organization provides free, reusable and disposable supplies to Milwaukeeans in need.

“In some of the really extreme situations, some families are taking a dirty disposable diaper, rinsing it, hanging it to dry, and using it again,” says Meagan Johnson, the co-founder of the Milwaukee Diaper Mission. “Studies have shown that families who experience diaper need, their children have mental health issues and they have a not as good of a start in life.”

When Johnson wanted to help make cloth diapers more accessible in Milwaukee, she tried to find a local diaper bank but found that unlike many other cities, Milwaukee did not have a designated diaper bank. So Johnson and her cousin Jessica Syburg decided to start collecting products to be distributed. There's a demand for both reusable and disposable diapers in Milwaukee, so they're trying to meet as much of that need as they can.  

“We’re gonna grow really fast and we’re gonna serve as many families as we possibly can because this is really, really important work,” Johnson says.

Milwaukee Diaper Mission is partnering with Milwaukee Turners for a diaper and period supply drive on Sept. 21.

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as producer for Lake Effect. Most recently, she was a director and producer for The Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm, Chicago Public Radio.