ESL Jefferson Award winner: Amanda Dreher, attorney saves Rochester's only diaper bank

May 09, 2019 06:21 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — It can cost $80 a month for parents to pay for diapers. With more than half of the children in Rochester living in poverty, an organization is looking to help those families. 

The work so important, a Rochester woman was nominated by her peers for the ESL Jefferson Award. News10NBC's Stephanie Robusto looks at how the attorney saved one of Rochester's diaper banks.

The lower level of the Junior League of Rochester is the headquarters for its diaper bank, the JLR Diaper Bank

"We use this area to store diapers that have been donated or purchased," Amanda Dreher said. 

Dreher saved Roc City Bottoms Diaper Bank back in 2015 when it was close to shutting down. Hampered by a lack of volunteers and storage space, she helped them secure 501(c)(3) status as well as transition them over as part of the Junior League of Rochester.

"I was surprised to know there was no government assistance for diapers," she said.

At first, it was an outlet for the mom-to-be as a debilitating dizziness forced her to leave her job as an attorney with the Monroe County District Attorney's Office.

"It was within my limitations and capabilities of my illness," Dreher said.

It turned into a full-fledged passion project, taking over operations to help others as she searched for ways to manage her own symptoms. Diagnosed with vestibular migraines, the nervous system disorder once kept her homebound. Now she fights through it to continue providing for parents.

"Often times parents can't keep their jobs if they can't bring enough diapers to daycare," Dreher said. "Daycare requires a full supply of diapers."

Dreher believes providing diapers can help pull people out of poverty.

"That just contributes to an unfortunate cycle so if we can provide diapers to allow them to use benefits or funds in other ways that allow them to keep jobs and keep moving forward, I think that's a great thing."

On average, the Junior League of Rochester Diaper Bank provides 13,000 diapers a month.

"That's only meeting about half our need," Dreher said. 

And there's a waiting list for even more partners.

Click here to view the other 2019 ESL Jefferson Award winners.


Stephanie Robusto

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