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Help Me Grow-Long Island

Pictured from left, Scott Svitek, MD, Chair, Allied Foundation Board and Partner, Allied Physicians Group; Melissa Passarelli, Director of Programs, Docs for Tots & New York State Act Early Ambassador, Help Me Grow-Long Island; Heather Edwards, Executive Director, Allied Foundation; Marc Suntup, Vice President of Development, Island Harvest; and Shannon Karafian Volunteer and Community Relations Coordinator, Island Harvest

In partnership with the Allied Foundation Diaper Bank, Long Island’s only diaper bank, Help Me Grow–Long Island recently donated 53,250 diapers and 43,200 baby wipes to struggling Long Island families for distribution through Island Harvest Food Bank. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, approximately one in three U.S. families experienced diaper need, a public health issue exacerbated by the growing economic and unemployment crisis caused by the pandemic.

Diaper costs are supported by a grant from The JPB Foundation through Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. This opportunity was made available by the Help Me Grow National Center to Help Me Grow–Long Island, an initiative overseen by Docs for Tots. The diapers are secured through the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN). As a recognized member of NDBN, a national nonprofit, The Allied Foundation Diaper Bank is given direct access to high-quality diapers needed to help keep all babies clean, dry and healthy in their communities.

The Allied Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded by Allied Physicians Group, based in Melville, has distributed 915,000 diapers to families in need in Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn since its inception in 2017. In all of 2019, the diaper bank distributed 45,000 diapers; however, because of the unprecedented demand for diapers, today the program is on track to distribute 1 million diapers in 2021 to help families who are less fortunate.

“Infants require up to 12 diapers a day, toddlers about eight making the cost as much as $80 per month, per baby. Clean, dry diapers are critical for ensuring good health to prevent illness and skin infection. More parents are struggling and simply unable to afford them due to loss of employment or other hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Allied Foundation Executive Director Heather Edwards.

“No state or federal child safety-net program allocates dollars specifically for the purchase of diapers,” explained Scott Svitek, MD, Chair, Allied Foundation Board and Partner, Allied Physicians Group.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 95 percent of the families that contact us need help with diapers,” said Melissa Passarelli, Director of Programs, Docs for Tots and Help Me Grow–Long Island Coordinator. “We have been working with our partners connecting families with diapers. This grant from the JPB Foundation allows us to get diapers into the hands of families who need them most.”

“Diapers and baby wipes are items that are in high demand among parents struggling to make ends meet, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marc Suntup, Vice President of Development, Island Harvest Food Bank. “Thanks to the generous donation by The Allied Foundation, Help Me Grow–Long Island and Docs for Tots, so many parents can now provide such essential products to help keep their babies safe and healthy.”

To learn more about the Allied Foundation and the Allied Diaper Bank of Long Island, visit https://alliedfoundation.org/give/donate-diapers/ or call (631) 386-4185. For additional information about Help Me Grow–Long Island, log on to www.docsfortots.org/help-me-grow-long-island. For more details about Docs for Tots, please visit www.docsfortots.org. More information about Island Harvest is available www.islandharvest.org.