SALINAS VALLEY — Diaper distributions two weeks ago in South Monterey County highlighted a growing need for infant supplies along with increased need for food.
Agencies in Gonzales, Greenfield and King City each received diapers and wipes from First 5 Monterey County, but their supplies were drained within the hour of beginning their distributions.
Those diapers were among the estimated 110,000 diapers secured for the county by First 5. They began that service as a result of a community survey conducted at the beginning of the shelter-in-place orders by the state and county governments. They wanted to identify what area families faced as their greatest challenges, resulting in the answer: diapers, wipes and baby formula.
“Because of that survey and what we were hearing in the community, we wanted to do what we could to help fill the gap,” said Nina Alcaraz, communications manager at First 5.
The organization conducted two rounds of distribution in the county. They have plans for more rounds, but securing diapers is difficult for charity organizations.
“We are not the only community facing these shortages. The need for infant and toddler resources around the state is deep,” Alcaraz said.
First 5’s previous supplier of diapers, SupplyBank.org, had been drained by the statewide need. They have not been able to provide Monterey County with more diapers and wipes, at least in the short term.
“We are looking to other resources to get diapers, wipes and formula,” Alcaraz said.
The urgency for infant supplies caused the surge of response to the prior distributions.
“We know that people have waited in line for hours to get diapers and wipes and have traveled outside of their cities to other communities that are distributing,” Alcaraz said. “When the city of Gonzales distributed last week, we heard that people from Soledad and King City drove into Gonzales hoping to get diapers.”
The distribution of infant sanitary supplies is new for First 5, and is a response to the constantly evolving nature of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are learning from the success and challenges of each diaper distribution,” Alcaraz said.
Families need more than diapers and wipes, which is why First 5 has worked with other organizations with existing connections to assist families in a holistic effort.
“For instance, parents can get diapers from a trusted organization and connected to other services, like mental health support for their family,” Alcaraz said.
Those interested in assisting families can donate to the Community Foundation for Monterey County’s Covid-19 Relief Fund. CFMC’s Relief Fund has augmented First 5 Monterey County funding to help secure these supplies. They can be reached at cfmco.org or 831-754-5880.