In the spirit of the holidays and to reinforce its long-term commitment to assisting families in need, American Eagle Financial Credit Union (AEFCU) has awarded $3,000 in grants from its Donor-Advised Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to three nonprofit diaper banks in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

The Diaper Bank of Connecticut, Square One Diaper Bank in Springfield, Mass., and Gentle Love Diaper Pantry, a youth-led nonprofit organization at Manchester (CT) High School, each received $1,000 to purchase and distribute diapers to needy families in their respective communities this holiday season.

“This year has been a challenging one for many families across our service region, so we felt compelled to bring some relief to them during a time of year when people come together to help others,” said Dean Marchessault, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Eagle Financial Credit Union. “Our donations reinforce our commitment to the health and well-being of children and families.”

The Diaper Bank of Connecticut centralizes the fundraising and distribution of free diapers to poor families in Connecticut through existing service providers, including local food pantries, soup kitchens, daycare centers, social service agencies and shelters, according to its website. The Diaper Bank of Connecticut has to date distributed more than 20 million free diapers to poor and low-income families through its extensive Diaper Distribution Network (DDN) of more than 60 agencies in New Haven, Hartford, Fairfield, Middlesex and Windham Counties.

“We are so grateful to American Eagle for generously supporting the work of The Diaper Bank of Connecticut,” said Janet Stolfi Alfano, Executive Director. “Diapers are a critical, basic health need for babies and families that is often overlooked. We are proud to work with American Eagle to help Connecticut's families at this critical time.”

Square One bills itself as a provider of a range of family-friendly education and support services that are unique to each child and every family served. Square One’s programs include early education and care at centers in Springfield, home-based care settings located throughout greater Springfield, and out of school time care for elementary school age children.

"More than ever, our families are struggling to meet their basic needs. The cost of diapers can be as high as $100 per month for some families,” said Dawn DiStefano, Executive Vice President of Square One. “Thanks to the generosity of American Eagle Financial Credit Union and other community partners, we can continue to lessen this burden by supplying emergency diapers to those in need."

Gentle Love Diaper Pantry is a youth led nonprofit organization created in June of 2020 by a group of Manchester High School students. The pantry distributes diapers and wipes along with other baby essentials through a network of local agencies, including MACC Food Pantry and the ECHN Family Development Center. Each month, the pantry holds a contactless diaper drive to collect diapers and wipes. Since its launch earlier this year, they have collected over 30,000 diapers and 26,000 wipes.

“The $1,000 grant from American Eagle Financial Credit Union will enable our youth led organization to continue to support the families we serve at the Manchester Public Schools Welcome Center,” said Kyle Zingler, Student Chair of Gentle Love Diaper Pantry. “It will allow us to purchase approximately 5,000 diapers, which will ensure that the MPS Welcome Center can continue to facilitate contactless pickups of diapers for low-income Manchester families through the winter months. The hearts of so many vulnerable infants and toddlers will be touched.”