There’s a proposal in Maryland that would grant tax credits to those who donate to diaper banks across the state.
The bill was introduced last month in Maryland’s House, and a hearing on the matter was held this past Thursday in front of the Ways and Means Committee.
“The tax credit would be for any donor who contributes up to $1,000 to a diaper bank in Maryland or other charitable organizations for diapers or … certain hygiene essentials,” said Lavita Gardner with Maryland Diaper Bank.
Gardner said diaper needs have gone through the roof since the COVID-19 pandemic started —but things had been tough before then.
“The Maryland Diaper Bank, we’ve been open for three years … In 2018, 8% of Maryland families were earning less than 100% of the poverty level. When we started 2019 … we were facing a 35-day government shutdown,” Gardner said. “Late in the year, we had furloughs across government. By the end of 2019, 12% of Maryland children under 18 were living in poverty. Then we walked into 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic hit.”
The economic downturn caused by the pandemic caused demand for donations to spike.
“That has caused the demand for diapers to triple,“ Gardner says. Families who usually needed no assistance found themselves in situations where they had greater need.
The tax credit would also be applied for more than just diapers.
“To our understanding for this tax credit, it would include ointments, it would include wipes, diapers,” Gardner said.
Feminine hygiene products would also be included in those necessities.
Gardner believes that, if adopted, the tax credits could help boost donations.
“Maryland, by and large, in comparison to other states, is considered a high-income state. We have … not only high-income individuals, but we also have a lot of high-income businesses,” Gardner said. “When those businesses are looking to put their dollars somewhere, we hope that this income tax credit will have them looking at diaper banks so that they, too, can support Maryland babies with these diapering essentials.”
Gardner said since Maryland Diaper Bank is 100% dependent on donations, “anything that incentivizes — whether it be a tax credit or otherwise — would go a long way, a huge way to support families and support the reduction of diaper need across the state.”
There are three ways to help: One is by visiting the Maryland Diaper Bank website to give money; another way to give is by hosting a diaper drive.
“It’s one of the safest ways that you can support. Your folks that are connected to you can just do a drive-by drop-off of diapers and then we can set up [an] appointment that we can pick those up, or you can drop them off to us … and we get them directly out to the community,” Gardner said.
The third way is by donating to their Amazon Wish List.