Founder of non-profit organization Luierbank looks back on ten years of service in the DC region
A mom has started a DC area non-profit organization to lend a helping hand to other moms across the area by providing diapers and other supplies and resources. Now she says goodbye after more than ten years of service.
This is part of WTOP’s ongoing coverage of people making a difference in our community, written by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.
A mom founded a DC area nonprofit to lend a helping hand to other caregivers throughout the area by providing diapers and other supplies and resources. Now she says goodbye after more than ten years of service.
When Corinne Cannon had her first child in 2009, she and her partner were excited to have a baby. They planned to have the child, but said they were also “ill-prepared for having a baby in terms of the emotional and physical toll it took on us.”
Cannon described her baby as difficult and was amazed at how difficult it was to take care of a baby.
After her son grew out of the baby stage, Cannon started thinking about other mothers. She was lucky to have a partner who was 100% in the relationship, family nearby and financial resources; and yet she struggled.
She wondered what happens to people who don’t have these resources or support. Then she started investigating and said she was upset about what she discovered.
Helping people who struggle with “diaper needs”
“It’s started [the nonprofit] because I was really, really angry,” Cannon said. “I was really angry that women and children weren’t getting the resources they need.”
Cannon, founder and principal of the Greater DC Diaper Bank, said she started the organization in her basement in 2010, a year after her son was born. And after 13 years of service, she will retire later this month.
“I started this work to make sure no mother or caregiver would feel alone,” she wrote in a statement. “We have set up a care network for tens of thousands of families in our region. The next phase of this work means making sure we are here to provide that care for many years to come.”
According to its website, the organization will help approximately 40,000 children in DC, Maryland and Virginia by 2021. They supply diapers, feminine hygiene products, incontinence products and baby food to a range of social service providers who distribute supplies to families in need.
did you hear? @RepRaskin just signed up to HR1143 to give low income families access to diapers! We can handle #diaper need t/g! @diaper network pic.twitter.com/C8AqGBErTT
— Corinne Cannon (@corinnecannon) June 9, 2017
Cannon said she found social support for families in the US is misunderstood and one in three women struggles with “diaper needs.”
“Diaper needs are not having enough products to keep a child healthy and safe,” Cannon said.
During her research, she found that many organizations lacked the human resources to do the necessary work. Now she works with at least 75 social aid organizations, many of them her partners.
Community service programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and WIC (Women, Infants and Children) are believed to be used to supplement a family’s nutritional needs. she said. But for many families, “it’s all they’ve got.”
The impact of the pandemic
The pandemic put additional pressure on families, especially low-income families.
Pre-pandemic, she said: “We were handing out 2 million diapers a year. Now we distribute 11 million diapers a year. We could give double that and still not reach everyone who needs our support.”
While the World Health Organization says the coronavirus pandemic is no longer an emergency, Cannon said many of the families the nonprofit serves will be affected for years to come. She said they are plagued by medical debt, rent arrears, credit card debt and the effects of inflation.
She said the only positive thing to come out of the pandemic was that “people are more comfortable saying they need support. Some of the stigma around saying you need support is gone.”
Those who need support can contact the Greater DC Diaper Bank and get in touch with an agency willing to help.