CCO’s Community Diaper Bank surpasses 285,000 diapers
Ventura County-based nonprofit’s diaper bank averages distribution of nearly 19,000 diapers per month
CONEJO VALLEY, Calif., (June 30, 2021) — Conejo Community Outreach (CCO), a 100% volunteer-run Ventura County-based nonprofit, has been responding to the increased need for diaper support resulting from the hardships residents of Ventura County have faced stemming from job loss and financial insecurity due to COVID-19.
CCO’s Community Diaper Bank, which launched in 2018, had just announced a 50,000-diaper distribution milestone in March 2020 when COVID-19 forced the local economy to shut down weeks later. As a result, the diaper bank, which provides monthly supplemental packages of diapers and wipes to families in Conejo Valley and surrounding areas, was tasked with restructuring operations as the karate studio it used as a diaper distribution center temporarily closed its doors to operate remotely.
The diaper bank was temporarily relocated to board member Jess Weihe’s garage to ride out what many believed to be just a few weeks’ disruption. Weeks turned into months, and eventually CCO made the decision to permanently transition the diaper bank to Weihe’s residence. A community fundraiser helped fund an 8 x 20-ft storage unit for inventory, and bags donated by Ventura County Credit Union helped the nonprofit efficiently package diaper orders for pickup.
“The transition of our diaper bank and operations has massively pivoted since March 2020,” said Weihe, vice president and cofounder of the volunteer-run organization. “Prior to last March, the diaper bank averaged 25,000 diapers per year, supporting about 40-50 children monthly. In June 2021 alone, we’ve packaged and distributed 27,000 diapers, supporting 222 children throughout the County of Ventura. We’re seeing average monthly requests that add up to 18,000-20,000 diapers, plus wipes.”
Within weeks of the economy shutdown last March, organizations throughout the County of Ventura started contacting CCO for pandemic relief. “Immediately we started receiving calls from the County of Ventura’s Public Health department seeking help for the families supported by its various programs. Another local nonprofit, Safe Passage Youth Foundation, reached out in need of an ongoing weekly supply of diapers to provide to families. Then a call from Amigo Baby. Then Interface. CCO also established relationships with other nonprofits, such as Friends of Fieldworkers, CASA and CVUSD, setting up monthly support for families supported by their programs.
In 2020, CCO received a $5,000 grant from Ventura County Community Foundation, and, in early 2021, established a partnership with FOOD Share of Ventura County, signing on as a distribution partner for the food bank’s new diaper inventory. In order to store the donated pallets of size 3, 4 and 5 diapers, Hollywood Storage Center in Thousand Oaks helped CCO with securing additional storage space. Even with these resources, the demand continues to increase, and so does the need for additional support.
“Now, we’re facing another opportunity to pivot,” said Andrea Yusim, president and cofounder of CCO. “In the past 16 months, we’ve put out 230,000 diapers, an amount that has more than tripled our monthly operating and ordering costs.”
Starting out as a small, volunteer-run nonprofit founded by five local women, the organization’s resources have been funded primarily through grassroots fundraising campaigns, as can be seen on the nonprofit’s gratitude page. In 2021 for example, 146 community members have made donations, often more than once, to keep the diaper bank running.
“We are so fortunate for the support of our community, which always answers the call to help, either by providing a monetary donation, sending diaper donations through our Amazon Wishlist or by hosting a diaper drive,” Yusim said. “But if June is indicative of the pace to come for requests to the diaper bank, we know critical decisions lie ahead for us in order to keep the diaper bank thriving.”
As CCO now shifts to craft a strategy for grant funding, it is also looking for business partners to sponsor the diaper bank in return for brand visibility and exposure. Two of the nonprofit’s board members have a combined social platform reach of 44,000 people between their social media pages and group members and aim to use these platforms to continue helping CCO maintain its resources.
“We’ve started referring to our diaper bank as ‘the little diaper bank that could,’” Yusim said. “The need is anything but small, however, and we’re determined to do everything we can to continue supporting families who need this essential resource.”
For more information about the diaper bank and CCO’s other community resources, visit www.conejocommunityoutreach.com.
About Conejo Community Outreach
Founded in 2015 by five Conejo Valley-based women, Conejo Community Outreach (CCO) — a 100% volunteer-run IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) — supports families in the community by connecting local generosity to local need. In addition to its flagship and annual Community Thanksgiving event, CCO's primary year-round resource is its Community Diaper Bank, which launched in 2018. To date, the diaper bank has provided nearly 300,000 diapers, plus wipes, to families in Ventura County. CCO's board members include Conejo Valley influencers, board members leaders, business professionals, 40 Under Forty recipients, business owners and parent leaders. To learn more about CCO, please visit www.conejocommunityoutreach.com.