1,000+ Families Receive Diapers & PPE as Local Leaders Raise Awareness of Emergency Supplies Program
STOCKTON, Calif. (September 22, 2021)
More than 1,000 families and childcare providers drove through the San Joaquin County Public Health Services WIC Program office’s to receive PPE, diapers and other essentials as part of the expanded First 5 California Emergency Supplies Program. State Senator Dr. Susan Talamantes Eggman and several other local leaders convened with First 5 California, First 5 San Joaquin, San Joaquin County Public Health Services (PHS) WIC Program, 2-1-1 San Joaquin (a program of the Family Resource & Referral Center), and the nonprofit SupplyBank.org to host the event and raise awareness of a $2-million-dollar expansion, bringing the program’s total investment to $7 million. In response to the pandemic, First 5 California launched the program in early 2020 to address an urgent need among childcare providers and the broader community for PPE, diapers, wipes, and other essentials. To date, this program has distributed 30.8 million diapers and wipes, 11.6 million masks, 10.8 million disposable gloves, 16.4 million gallons of cleaning solution, nearly 381,000 units of hand sanitizers and soaps, and other items.
“As a former medical social worker, I know firsthand the importance of ensuring our most trusted community based organizations have the resources they need to provide for their community,” said State Senator Dr. Susan Talamantes Eggman, who also used to teach social work at Sacramento State University. “That is why I would like to thank First 5 California, First 5 San Joaquin, and SupplyBank.org for their leadership in expanding this program, so our Public Health Services WIC Program and Family Resources & Referral Center can continue to provide additional PPE, diapers and other materials that ensure the health, safety, and comfort of our most vulnerable families.”
“The First 5 Emergency Supplies Program leverages our local partnerships to provide the public critical resources to ensure the health of our community,” stated Lani Schiff-Ross, Executive Director of First 5 San Joaquin, which also started a diaper bank program with WIC and SupplyBank.org in 2017. “When we learned diaper need was resulting in thousands of hospital visits in our county, we began adding critical basic needs like diapers to our programming with WIC. When COVID hit, PPE was a natural expansion to reach the same families and also childcare providers, while continuing to strengthen WIC and 2-1-1 San Joaquin’s relationships with the communities they serve as a trusted resource.” There were 3,768 hospital visits in San Joaquin County related to diaper need in the four years leading up to the pandemic, the majority to the emergency room.
“The First 5 California Commission expanded emergency efforts to address the growing need for additional supplies and the grave disparity in the impacts of the pandemic. For the marginalized communities that this program will serve, these supplies will provide the means to stay safe, to keep essential businesses open, and to combat the effects of the virus,” said Camille Maben, Executive Director of First 5 California. “We added diapers because we wanted to ensure childcare providers and families impacted by the economic fallout of the pandemic continued to have this vital resource.”
To facilitate purchase and distribution of these supplies, First 5 California is working in conjunction with SupplyBank.org—a California-based nonprofit specializing in leveraging innovative supply chain strategies—to provide low-cost supplies to trusted community-based organizations serving low-income and vulnerable populations throughout California.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, our main issue was access to supplies,” said Rebecca Ray, Director of Community Relations and Development of Family Resource & Referral Center. “While some scarcity remains, the rising costs of diapers and other essentials for the families we serve are rapidly becoming the main challenge.” The growing focus on economic stability is consistent throughout the County. “Families were already struggling to afford basics like food and diapers prior to the pandemic,” said Kimberly Smith, PHS WIC Program Coordinator. “The pandemic and its economic impacts continue to affect a family’s ability to access PPE and diapers, which is why we are grateful for the generous support of all our partners in continuing this important work.”
This program is expected to continue through at least the end of the year. Additional shipments are delivered to communities impacted by the wildfires.