In March, Diaper Bank of Minnesota staff had the opportunity to participate in the National Diaper Bank Network’s annual Lobby Days. Through this event, we had the opportunity to network with other diaper banks around our region and learn about some proposed legislation designed to reduce diaper need.
We are thankful for the opportunity to have met with staffers representing Senator Tina Smith, Representative Dean Phillips, Representative Ilhan Omar, and Representative Betty McCollum. During these meetings, we shared some information about diaper need in the Twin Cities and the work that we are doing to address this need, and encouraged their support for proposed legislation.
These meetings were positive and productive, and we were able to build the foundation for future discussion. Many of our local officials were surprised to hear that the Diaper Bank of Minnesota receives no government funding, and relies entirely on donations and foundations to serve the community.
Current legislative proposals
There are two bills under consideration by the federal government, one in the Senate and one in the House. Both bills are specifically focused on addressing diaper need. While details vary, both bills propose additional funding to purchase diapers, integrate diaper distribution projects, and evaluate the impact of these efforts. Both bills also define diapers as “medically necessary” so that families can purchase them through health savings accounts and HRAs.
In the House of Representatives, the H.R.259 – Lee-DeLauro End Diaper Need Act of 2021 would appropriate $100 million each fiscal year from 2021-2024 for these efforts. In the Senate, Senate Bill 304 – End Diaper Need Act of 2021 would appropriate $200 million each fiscal year from 2022-2025 through a state block grant.
How you can help
Please consider reaching out to your local officials, to help them understand the extent and impact of diaper need in our area and encourage their support of these legislative proposals. Diaper Bank of Minnesota staff are available to share information or talking points for you.