Opening additional warehouse/distribution center to address diaper need and period poverty to reach even more children in 2023 and beyond
MCHENRY, IL (JANUARY 2023) –After over two years living in the midst of a pandemic with an exponentially increased demand for its services, Keeping Families Covered is expanding into McHenry County, with a second warehouse located at 4138 W. Orleans Street. This new facility will join the original Waukegan based warehouse that served nearly 13,000 families (17,859 children) in 2022 alone, with the goal of making an even bigger impact in 2023. With over 1.2 million diapers already being distributed annually, this expansion means at least 500,000 more diapers will be distributed this year.
Founded in 2010, Keeping Families Covered provides diapers, period products and incontinence products to those in need. They also provide other essentials including baby wipes, infant formula, new/gently used maternity wear and children’s clothing/shoes (birth to youth size 12), new baby care equipment and children’s books. When it comes to simple necessities including diapers and menstrual products, one in three mothers cut back on basic essentials to afford diapers for their children and two-thirds of the 16.9 million low-income women in the US could not afford menstrual products in the past year, with a half of this needing to choose between menstrual products and food. With this increased warehouse space in McHenry Country, Keeping Families Covered will now be equipped to serve thousands more, vastly increasing their reach and impact.
Keeping Families Covered is taking over this space previously occupied by The Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois, one of the first National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) members. This facility was overseen by Executive Director, Phyllis Mueller and per Ann Marie Mathis, Founder & CEO of Keeping Families Covered, “I have big shoes to fill but I’m up for the challenge. I am fortunate to have an amazing team that is dedicated to our mission and supports my vision for this organization. We all look forward to serving the McHenry County community.”
Mathis adds, “Phyllis created an incredible operation. It’s an honor to take over the reins to further her important work and build upon her legacy.”
“We were only one of only five diaper banks in the nation when we founded The Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois in 2010, and the only one in Illinois,” says Phyllis Mueller. “I’m so excited for Ann Marie and her team and very confident they will ensure this operation goes forward into the future and continues to serve all those in need, both children and adults.”
“Phyllis and The Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois were among the initial members of National Diaper Bank Network which launched in 2011,” says CEO & Founder Joanne Samuel Goldblum. “This positive transition demonstrates the Network’s strength and how members band together to support one another and the families they serve.”
Diaper banks are trusted resources in their respective communities. Each requires ongoing support and donations of dollars, diapers and time in order to help children and families who are struggling.
Goldblum adds, “When key diaper bank leaders like Phyllis retire, it’s vital that the years of commitment, legacy and trusted service endure. We’re confident that under Ann Marie’s leadership, Keeping Families Covered will expand Phyllis’s legacy, and ensure that all McHenry County residents have access to the material basic necessities they require to thrive.”
The McHenry site was 100% volunteer-driven and many of those volunteers will be joining Keeping Families Covered. They will work onsite packing orders for 20 community partners, maintaining inventory and directly servicing families. In Lake County, Keeping Families Covered supports 50 community partners and provides direct service to families via monthly mobile diaper pantries in Gurnee, Grayslake, Waukegan, Round Lake Park, Highwood and Kenosha, Wisconsin. The expansion will double the organization’s geographic footprint and create additional opportunities for growth.
“After I lost my job, I was embarrassed to ask for help and felt judged by so many people and organizations that were supposed to help,” says Billie Lovelace, former client. “What I love about Keeping Families Covered is that when I needed assistance, I could go directly through them and with Ann Marie, I was helped with zero judgment. Ann Marie and her team always treated me with grace and respect, making sure that my family was taken care of.”
“As we move into 2023 with this expansion at the helm, I know that this will open up a greater opportunity for funding support and operational growth,” says Mathis. “Our main goal for McHenry is to bring their orders back up to 100% fulfillment and then build upon both our partner base and the number of families we can serve. We will continue to focus on identifying gaps in service that exist in the communities we serve and meeting people where they are to offer support so we can thrive together.”
ABOUT KEEPING FAMILIES COVERED
With a mission to eliminate the barriers that exist to access basic human needs for the most vulnerable residents in the community, Keeping Families Covered provides diapers, period products and incontinence products to those in need. They also provide other essentials including baby wipes, infant formula, new/gently used maternity wear and children’s clothing/shoes (birth to youth size 12), new baby care equipment and children’s books.
What began as a small operation out of Founder Ann Marie Mathis’s basement, Keeping Families Covered now has warehouses in Lake and McHenry Counties, supporting thousands of families with the basics they need to thrive and reach their full potential.
To volunteer, host a drive, contribute financially or inquire about sponsorship visit www.keepingfamiliescovered.org.