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Friday, January 27, 2023

Early Learning Coalition of Marion County collects over 100,000 diapers during donation drive

The Early Learning Coalition of Marion County has announced that over 100,000 diapers were donated by generous members of the community during the nonprofit organization’s countywide diaper drive, which was held from October 15 through November 5.

During the diaper drive, Marion County residents dropped off unopened packages of disposable diapers and baby wipes at Publix Supermarkets located in Ocala, Belleview, and Dunnellon.

According to the ELCMC, a total of 104,993 diapers were collected, along with 165,548 baby wipes. These donations will be distributed to local families who need temporary assistance to meet one of their babies’ most critical needs.

During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the ELCMC distributed nearly 60,000 diapers for Marion County children, and the nonprofit organization states that the local need for diapers continues. According to a Nielsen report, the cost of diapers increased by approximately 14 percent nationally during the pandemic.

While Florida has granted tax relief on diaper purchases through June 30, 2023, diaper purchases are not covered by government assistance programs, such as WIC or SNAP. The ELCMC states that many families who are unable to afford diapers often resort to unsanitary practices, such as washing and drying disposable diapers or using towels or other clothing items in place of diapers.

Childcare centers require families to provide disposable diapers for children who are not yet potty trained. As a result, some parents are forced to miss work due to a lack of disposable diapers.

When the community comes together to help families in need of diapers, they are also helping to provide access to early childhood education, which in turn helps keep parents in the workforce, according to the ELCMC.

The Early Learning Coalition of Marion County’s mission is to provide leadership and foster partnerships to optimize a quality early learning environment for local children through child care, voluntary pre-kindergarten, and parent education.

For more information, visit the Early Learning Coalition of Marion County’s website.