WAUKEGAN, IL — THE DAILY HERALD - A Lake County nonprofit has a million reasons to smile, after it hit a massive milestone last month. Twice As Nice Mother & Child distributed its millionth diaper during a mobile diaper pantry distribution in Highwood, the organizations founder and Executive Director Ann Marie Mathis said, in a release sent to Patch.
"We have distributed 174,000 diapers through the mobile diaper pantry alone," said Mathis, in a release. "We are at 271,493 year-to-date through our mobile and on-site programs. And we are on track to hit half a million this year."
The mobile program is just 13 months old, and distributions from it take place monthly in Waukegan and Gurnee, and twice monthly in Highwood, according to a release. In addition to the mobile program, TANMC works with 33 primarily Lake County and a few Cook County agencies for its on-site program.
TANMC has come a long way from its 23,934 diapers distributed in 2013, and 75,000 handed out in 2015; the first full year after TANMC became part of the National Diaper Bank Network, according to a release. Becoming part of that network enabled TANMC to take advantage of preferred purchasing programs, a release said.
"Diapers are a basic need that is often overlooked," Mathis said, according to a release. "There's a common misconception in the community that there's got to be a government program that assists with diaper need, but that is not true. Neither food stamps nor WIC covers diapers."
Mathis attributes the rapid rise to both greater awareness of TANMC's programs and an increase in the need for diapers among the population served. According to the National Diaper Bank Network statistics, one in three U.S. families experiences diaper need.
"People experience financial hardships," Mathis said, in a release sent to Patch. "Maybe the main breadwinner lost a job, or there's an illness or someone is a single parent and is not receiving support. Or maybe it's all of the above," Mathis added. "People who are struggling to make ends meet need our help so they can keep their children clean, dry and healthy. We recognized this need and we're doing what we can."
While Mathis said diaper drives and cash donations are appreciated, TANMC relies on grants and community support to achieve its goal of "supplying diapers to all who seek the assistance within the Lake County area served," according to the release. Being part of the National Diaper Bank Network allows the nonprofit to purchase diapers for less than half of retail cost, Mathis added.
TANMC's largest annual fundraising event- Bottoms up for Babies - is less than four months away. It will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sept. 27 at The Shanty Restaurant in Wadsworth, according to a release. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com and at twiceasnicemc.org, and all proceeds support diaper distribution programs.
For more information, call TANMC at 224-637-1644 or visit twiceasnicemc.org, where you can also find a cash donation portal.