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'Diapers Are Expensive': Pittsburgh-Area Families In Need Wait Hours For Free Diaper Distribution Event

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A diaper distribution event was held near PPG Paints Arena Thursday morning. Two organizations made it happen along with support from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The distribution is a collaborative effort between Global Links, the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Penguins Foundation.

This distribution is aimed at helping families of small children that may be experiencing financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic. Diapers are not approved items for SNAP or EBT benefits.

Beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting until 1 p.m. in the parking lots of PPG Paints Arena, cars turned onto Logan Street from Centre Avenue and were directed to pick up the diapers.

Families were able to get one case of diapers of the same size or two packs of two different sizes.

For perspective, the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank says in the past two months they have distributed more than 160,000 diapers. Last year at this same time, they only distributed about 50,000 diapers per month.

KDKA found out some waited for three hours. Organizers say it could be the largest diaper drive in the country.

"Months diapering is what we're providing for today -- four packages as well as package of wipes," said Angela Garcia, Executive Director of Global Links.

"Diapers are expensive. Diapers can cost up to $100 a month per baby," said Cathy Battle, the co-founder of Western PA Diaper Bank.

Organizers say in less than 10 minutes, 300 vehicles passed through.

For many, the need was always there. KDKA found out one in three families struggle to provide diapers for their family. But when the pandemic hit in March, thousands were finding out they no longer had a job.

"There were so many calls, so many emails about 'we're needing diapers, we're out of work,'" said Battle.

That's when Battle along with Garcia, got together and formed this event.

"We used both of our funding and partnerships to secure almost a half a million diapers," said Garcia.

"And there's no government assistance. So you have to take the money you have for food and buy diapers," said Battle. "People were like, 'I'm out of work, we don't have money, we're down to our last diaper.' I've heard things like that. And that's where we're like 'ok we have to do this.'"

KDKA was told if the need is still there they will have another drive like this one in the future.

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