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Shortage at shelters has diapers being rationed, migrants say

Migrants ration diapers, wipes amid citywide shortage at shelters
Migrants ration diapers, wipes amid citywide shortage at shelters 02:40

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In a new wrinkle in the migrant crisis, some who are staying in city-run shelters report there are not enough supplies – and a solution has been to ration diapers.

Parents are understandably very concerned.

At one of the largest migrant shelters in Chicago, at 2241 S. Halsted St. in Pilsen, a migrant father said there are not enough diapers and wipes for their children.

He said he gets two diapers for his 2-year-old daughter – who typically requires five diaper changes a day.

When he asks for more, he said he is met with a "no," because staff say other people at the shelter need them too.

A migrant mother said the same is happening for her. She said she gets one diaper in the morning and one at night for her toddler son – even when she asks for more to prevent rashes. She also said milk is rationed.

And it is not just at the Pilsen shelter. Volunteers said rationing and shortage of supplies is happening at migrant shelters citywide – and has been going on for weeks.

"They're reusing diapers – which is not healthy for them," said Adriana Vargas, a board member with the mutual aid organization Southwest Collective. "It's not healthy for anyone."

Southwest Collective is doing something about the problem.

"I would have to see my kid in need, so what's the difference between my child and a child at the shelter?" said Vargas.

Vargas is one of four moms who run the Southwest Collective, which is based on the Southwest Side, and maintains a mission to help parents in need. Their urgent call for donations is being answered.

Boxes and boxes of diapers have been delivered, which will be taken to shelters. But even so, the Southwest Collective moms only say their effort can go so far.

"It's overwhelming. You know, we're all volunteers. There's only a few of us. You know, there's only so much that we can do – and we want to help them all, but we can't."

The City of Chicago reported they received a large delivery of 47 pallets of supplies and diapers, which were distributed to shelters over the weekend. CBS 2 asked if that was enough to alleviate the shortage – but there was no response to that question.

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