June 12, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot Announces Call to Action to Ensure Caregivers Have Access to Essential Baby Items

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced a call to action for Chicagoans – residents and corporations alike – to donate essential baby items including diapers, wipes and formula to support communities most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as additional recent events. Local nonprofit organization, Share Our Spare, will serve as a centralized donation hub for diapers, wipes and formula that will be distributed to community sites across North Lawndale, Auburn Gresham, Belmont Cragin, Austin, Pilsen, Roseland, and South Shore with an opportunity to expand into other communities as the supply is acquired. Many of these neighborhoods are part of the Racial Equity Rapid Response initiative, which was created by the City to support Black and Brown communities amid the COVID-19 virus.

“The impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been felt across our city, but it has been especially devastating for our families and communities who were already struggling on a daily basis to obtain essential goods and make ends meet,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “One of the most significant challenges—as well as one of the most unnoticed—has been the ability to obtain clean and healthy essential items for babies and infants. That’s why we are calling on all Chicagoans to donate whatever they can to help our parents and caregivers provide our youngest residents the nurturing and support they need during this critical moment in their lives.

Residents and other community-based organizations will be able to pick up the essential items they need beginning the week of June 22. Information on when items are available per community hub will be available here.

Community site hubs include:

  • Grace and Peace Church (Belmont Cragin)
  • Metro Family Services (Roseland)
  • New Moms (Austin) – in partnership with Austin Childcare Provider Network and Austin Coming Together
  • Instituto del Progresso (Pilsen)
  • Sinai Community Institute (North Lawndale)
  • South Shore Works (South Shore)
  • St. Sabina (Auburn Gresham)
“Share Our Spare believes that every child in Chicago should have the essential items they need to thrive in the first five years of life. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, 1 in 3 families struggled to provide enough diapers to their children, a need which has now been exacerbated by increased unemployment rates and diaper shortages. At a cost of $70-80 per month, diapers are not covered through government assistance programs. Share Our Spare has continued to meet the growing demand and is excited to partner with the City to expand our reach and support more families in our community,” said Alex Goodfellow, Executive Director of Share Our Spare.
Communities that experience severe economic hardship face challenges meeting their most basic needs such as food, medicine and essential baby items including diapers, wipes and formula. Additionally, as a result of recent events that took place across Chicago last week, many stores have been closed, reducing accessing to essential items for Chicagoans in those communities.
“Mayor Lightfoot pushing for resources to be deployed into the community is essential in a time of such mountain change. Mothers and children must not be forgotten during this season,” said Anton Seals of South Shore Works. “South Shore and surrounding communities will stand with Mayor Lightfoot making sure we strengthen the safety network for the most vulnerable; mothers and children.”
Those interested in supporting these efforts can donate diapers, wipes and formula directly to Share Our Spare, which is located at 935 W Chestnut Avenue LL3, Chicago IL, 60642 on Mondays through Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. They can also donate online to Share Our Spare to help purchase the supplies needed to meet the needs of babies.
In response to the City’s call to action, Cradles to Crayons has stepped up to deliver supplies to support the growing needs of these communities by delivering approximately 80,000 diapers and more than 2,000 wipes during their first distribution to the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services’ delegate agencies, and they will also support this effort to ensure the needs of communities are met. 
Parents may be experiencing challenges in finding products they need for their families on store shelves. To help families have continued access to formula, Abbott is donating Similac infant formula to the efforts. This donation will provide 141,750 feedings. Through this donation and their broader work to provide access to their products, Abbott is delivering on its promise to help parents nourish their babies.
These efforts build on the Lightfoot administration’s commitment to supporting the health and wellbeing of all Chicagoans. Last year, Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health launched “Family Connects Chicago,” a service designed to support the health and wellbeing of mothers, newborns and their families by providing home visits with registered nurses at no cost shortly after birth.