16,000 Families and Child Care Providers in Monterey County Have Received Diapers and PPE

16,000 Families and Child Care Providers in Monterey County Have Received Diapers and PPE

SALINAS, Calif., March 4, 2022

Today, First 5 Monterey County, Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF), local elected officials, and others gathered at MAOF Mountain Valley Early Learning Center to highlight First 5 California’s partnership with SupplyBank.org and local organizations to provide communities and families with essential items like diaper kits and PPE products. At the event and throughout the day, over 500 cases of diapers, over 200 cases of diaper wipes, over 130,000 children and adult masks were distributed along with other supplies. Responding to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of California’s Children and Families Commission (First 5 California) launched a program with a $7 million investment to fund emergency supplies for all 58 county First 5 commissions in the state. All of these materials help support the ongoing health, safety, and comfort of local communities. Since then, additional organizations have contributed to the effort.

To date, Monterey County received 997,604 cleaning and disinfectant products, 855,680 diapers and wipes, 315,750 masks, 145,000 disposable gloves, 12,320 units of hand sanitizers and soaps, in addition to other items. “The well-being, health, and safety of our community is always at the forefront of our mind. With children in the 0-4 age range still unable to receive vaccinations, we know that families and child care providers have an ongoing need for access to PPE and diapers,” said Francine Rodd, Executive Director of First 5 Monterey County. “We are grateful for the partnerships we have at both the state and local levels to continue meeting the immediate needs of the community.”

“The First 5 Emergency Supplies Program is a testament to the importance of the First 5 system in California. This critical program leveraged our state and county commissions and their local partnerships with trusted community-based organizations to provide critical resources to protect the health of our community,” stated Elsa Mendoza Jimenez, Director of the Monterey County Health Department and a First 5 California Commissioner. “The partnership between First 5 California, SupplyBank.org, County First 5 commissions, and community organizations like MAOF and the project called VIDA (Virus Integrated Distribution of Aid) has allowed for more than 119 million items throughout the state to reach families in need since the emergency supplies program began.”

“The First 5 California Commission expanded emergency efforts to address the growing need for additional supplies and the grave disparity of the impacts of the pandemic in lower income communities and communities of color. These supplies will help families stay safe, keep essential businesses open, and combat the effects of the virus,” said Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, Chief Deputy Director of First 5 California. “We included diapers in our distribution because we know that these are essential items for child care providers and families impacted by the economic fallout of the pandemic.” Several local and national media reports have highlighted the growing costs of diapers.

The program continues to be administered by the nonprofit SupplyBank.org, which conducts periodic needs assessments to understand the needs in local communities. “SupplyBank.org continues to be engaged to ensure our 500 partner organizations have what they need to protect their communities and reduce the spread of the virus,” said Benito Delgado-Olson, founder and Executive Director of SupplyBank.org. “Without exception, basic needs such as diapers and wipes continue to be a substantial economic burden for working families and child care providers.” According to the California Department of Health Care Access and Information, prior to the pandemic, there were nearly 40,000 hospital visits tied to the top three symptoms of diaper need, most of which were to the emergency room. Organizers of today’s event stated it remains a serious issue.