CI Hero: Galesburg mom brings more than 300,000 diapers to Central Illinois this year

CI Heroes

GALESBURG, Ill. (WMBD) — A Central Illinois mom experienced diaper need in the early 2000s. From that struggle, she made it her mission to have no other parent experience it. 10,000 diapers and 120 packages of wipes were delivered to the Peoria’s Empower Life Center.

“This helps us fulfill our mission to our community because this is where a lot of ladies come that aren’t able to afford diapers,” said Julie Philyew, the Director of Women’s Ministries for Peoria Rescue Ministries.

Loving Bottoms Diaper Bank was started by Lee Ann Porter, a Galesburg mom who experienced diaper need in 2004.

“There wasn’t a lot of assistance for a lot of things,” said Porter. “If you went into a pantry and asked for something like diapers or wipes or laundry soap, they didn’t have them and so you kind of feel like there’s a problem with you if you can’t get them because there’s no safety nets with it.”

In 2015, she decided to make a change for other Central Illinois parents. The bank now serving areas between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.

“We originally thought it was going to be Knox County,” said Porter. “That was kind of the only vision that I had. Then we picked up Warren County, Mercer/Henderson, Fulton, and then Henry/Stark, then Peoria and Tazewell, and then the next thing you know, we’re like regional.”

Diapers are distributed through 30 partner agencies. Those agencies distribute 50 diapers per child per month while the family has a need. 

“It’s a big deal for families to be able to have this,” said Porter. “To know that they have someplace they can go and that we put the diapers at places where they can get other services, which is why we don’t do direct distribution.”

In 2019, Loving Bottoms distributed more than 191,000 diapers. So far in 2020, it’s dispersed more than 300,000 diapers. 100,000 of those going to families in Peoria and Tazewell counties. Diapers were purchased with funds from the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund grant that Loving Bottoms received.

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