Sieda Community Action and Amerigroup Iowa are partnering with Hy-Vee Stores in Ottumwa throughout the month of October for Diaper Drive donations as many vulnerable and low-income families continue to struggle to make ends meet. North and South Hy-Vee and Hy-Vee Drugstore will accept diaper donations on behalf of Sieda Community Action’s Diaper Pantry and monetary donations will also be accepted at in-store registers.

Sieda Community Action has the Diaper Pantry to assist parents living in poverty. A monthly supply of diapers for one child can average $80. As a result, parents try to make do with the diapers they can afford causing severe diaper rashes and other health problems. Diapers are the most requested non-food item among those receiving home-visitation services through Sieda, and there is limited support for families to secure sufficient diapers for their children.

Amerigroup associates will also be coming together for a volunteer community diaper packing event at Sieda Community Action (725 W 2nd St, Ottumwa, IA 52501) on Oct. 14 from 12 noon – 4:30 p.m. Amerigroup will present Sieda Community Action with $10,000 to support their Diaper Pantry at 1:30 p.m. with local community leaders and elected officials including U.S. Senator Joni Ernst and U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

“I’m glad to be working across the aisle with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut to address the diaper shortages causing challenges for Iowa families, and I’m grateful for this upcoming opportunity to join the hard working folks at Sieda Community Action who are on the ground and fighting to make a difference for our families and our communities,” said Senator Joni Ernst.

Senator Ernst is the lead Republican cosponsor of the COVID-19 Diaper Assistance Act, legislation that would provide $200 million in additional funds through the Social Services Block Grant program for diaper assistance. She is partnering with Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on the bipartisan bill.

“I am proud to be partnering with Sieda Community Action ad my good friend, Senator Ernst, to help Iowans in need. The COVID-19 pandemic hit everyone hard and many are still working to fully recover. I am thrilled to see this work being done in my hometown of Ottumwa and look forward to working to make the lives of all Iowans easier,” said Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

A recent study conducted by the National Diaper Bank Network and the Kimberly Clark Corporation revealed that one in three families reported struggling with buying diapers on an ongoing basis. The high cost of diapers forced many low-income families to ration daily changes at a level far below health professionals’ recommendations.

“Parents experiencing poverty are subject to increased stress due to the high demand and need for diapers,” says Jennifer Fleener, Sieda’s Family Support Services Unit Director. “Children in families with high levels of stress or depression are at increased risk of social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Access to diapers and families providing more frequent diaper changes can lead to improved physical and mental health for children and families. This means fewer doctor and/or emergency room visits, improved family dynamics, and children better prepared to succeed.”

“Amerigroup Iowa is working alongside community partners like Sieda Community Action to provide families and children with the necessary resources to lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Jeffrey Jones, Amerigroup Iowa President. “As a leader in supporting maternal and child health, we are dedicated to helping the families we serve with an array of services to help improve their day to day lives.”

Amerigroup Iowa has also committed an additional $5,000 to Hiney Heroes Diaper Bank and Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank for families across the state who need a clean, reliable supply of diapers for a healthy and comfortable quality of life.

At the end of October, participating Hy-Vee locations will utilize the funds from register donations to purchase diapers to donate to Sieda along with the diapers donated throughout the month. In the first year of Sieda’s Diaper Pantry Program, it was able to help 154 different families and provided diapers to children 940 times.