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We joined hands—virtually, of course—to get children what they need.

Bernie’s Book Bank

Diapers and books to Lake County families: Local groups say ‘We know we can!’

For many families with young children, buying diapers became a serious challenge this spring.

In part, the challenge was economic: many families lost income with no notice, due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Then diapers on store shelves were snatched up, as families prioritized necessities and store supplies dwindled, forcing sellers to set purchasing limits.

Simultaneously (and quite coincidentally) diapers could be found in the warehouses of local institutions. What was needed was a way to get them to the families in need. Local groups used their resources and creativity to fill the need.

Here’s how it happened:

  • Advocate Health Care Foundation had a one-time donation of 15,000+ diapers sitting at their facility. The Foundation reached out to…

  • ...the Lake County Health Department, thinking the diapers would be a welcome addition to the county’s WIC Clinic curbside deliveries, and an ideal way to ensure that vulnerable families would actually receive them. But how to get the diapers to the families?

  • Bernie’s Book Bank—the leading provider of free books to under-served families—had a delivery truck, and offered transport help for this critical errand. They seized the opportunity to also deliver a pallet of 6,000 high-quality children’s books at the same time. But where to put all these diapers and books until they could be distributed?

  • Bernie’s delivered the diapers and books to Keeping Families Covered (formerly known as Twice As Nice Mother & Child), who have a massive warehouse for their diaper distribution program, which provides over 500,000 free diapers every year to children via their on-site diaper bank and mobile diaper pantry.

  • Keeping Families Covered was thrilled to add children’s books to the supplies they offer, and packaged the diapers for distribution to Lake County Health Department clients at their five Lake County WIC clinics.

Now, diapers and books are in the hands of Lake County families. Win-win!

What’s better? This has spurred new relationships and commitments. Keeping Families Covered has integrated the WIC Clinic diapers into their expanded inventory and distribution system.

And there’s word that additional runs of diapers from Keeping Families Covered to WIC Clinics will likely happen with, again, the support of the Little Bernie’s Book Bank Truck That Could.

“We’re so happy to partner,” says Nikki Bonamarte, Director of Development at Bernie’s Book Bank. Reaching children and families with these essentials–books and diapers–is important for the whole community.”

Since its founding in 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has distributed over 18 million high-quality books to under-served children in Chicagoland. Due to COVID-19, they have re-engineered and processed books without their normal 6,000+ volunteer hours/month. Instead, a 40-member staff team has distributed more than 500,000 books to children who need them now more than ever.



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