The Waco Diaper Bank is working to provide relief to furloughed federal employees who need help making ends meet during the government shutdown.
Ellen Filgo, director of the organization founded in 2015, said it will distribute additional diapers to Caritas of Waco and other nonprofits it works with. About 400 of the 1,300 federal workers in the Waco area are going without pay during the shutdown, which started Dec. 21, Filgo said. Some have been furloughed, and some have been working without pay.
“During this time of extensive hardship for federal workers, the Waco Diaper Bank will help in the best way we can: by providing diapers for children in need,” a press release announcing the initiative states.
Filgo said she does not know how many federal workers going without pay have young children still in diapers.
“I do know diapers are expensive and can even strain the budget of families with two working parents,” Filgo said.
Her two children have grown out of diapers, but lessons learned during that phase remain vivid, she said.
The organization distributes about 3,000 fresh diapers monthly to groups including Caritas of Waco, Jesus Said Love and the Veterans One Stop. She said Domtar, a diaper-maker with a local plant, and the local Walmart return center have been generous with donations and that the Waco Diaper Bank works with a national organization that offers diapers in bulk at reduced prices.
Domtar has announced it will close its local operation this year.
“We continue to raise awareness and to seek donations,” Filgo said.
Caritas of Waco Executive Director Buddy Edwards said he welcomes donations of diapers and appreciates the Waco Diaper Bank’s efforts.
Anyone with needs is welcome to visit Caritas for diapers, food from the pantry or assistance with utility bills in a pinch, Edwards said. He said he knows at least four government employees appear on Caritas’ client list.
“These are not necessarily furloughed employees,” he said. “Some have an existing relationship with us.”
Edwards said he is concerned there could be a run on the Caritas food pantry if the government shutdown disrupts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.
The United States Department of Agriculture announced last week it would provide full SNAP benefits for February. March benefits have not been guaranteed.