Struggling East Tenn. families use newspapers as makeshift diapers

COVID has caused a diaper shortage, a spike in prices and arguably a baby boom.
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:30 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Diapers have reportedly been added to the list of shortages due to COVID-19. Prices are going up and it’s putting a strain on already struggling East Tennessee families.

On Tuesday, Helping Mamas Knoxville gave away thousands of diapers and blankets at Fountain City United Methodist Church. Melissa Barnett told WVLT News that one in three families across the region can’t afford diapers.

“Knowing that parents are going to sanitary pads, newspapers or washing out soiled diapers, makes us want to work even harder,” Barnett said.

Social workers said the drive couldn’t come at a better time. COVID has caused a diaper shortage, a spike in prices and arguably a baby boom.

“Families are way more cautious to make trips to the grocery store. On top of that, they’re going to the grocery stores and there’s no diapers available,” said Chelsea Konzen, a Knoxville social worker.

The non-profit is said to be the only registered diaper bank in East Tennessee and recently moved into a new warehouse. They work with social workers and about 50 groups, handing out essentials from donated clothes to baby formula.

During National Diaper Need Awareness Week, they challenged the community to donate 10,000 diapers.

“And, we had 13,500 diapers donated. It almost makes me choke up because people saw the need,” Barnett said.

The donation brought the total number of donations to nearly 100,000 to date.

To learn more on how to donate or get help, click here.

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