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Retired lt. col. helps get diaper supplies to families in need

Aug. 11, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Alison Weir, second from the left, at the National Diaper Bank Network's kick-off distribution in January 2012 at Covenant House in Washington, D.C. Also featured: Dan Brannen, Executive Director of Covenant House; Joanne Goldblum, Executive Director, NDBN; Janice Weiman, then President of Kids in Distressed Situations; Corinne Cannon, Executive Director of DC Diaper Bank; Chris Blake, then Vice President of Kids in Distressed Situations.
Alison Weir, second from the left, at the National Diaper Bank Network's kick-off distribution in January 2012 at Covenant House in Washington, D.C. Also featured: Dan Brannen, Executive Director of Covenant House; Joanne Goldblum, Executive Director, NDBN; Janice Weiman, then President of Kids in Distressed Situations; Corinne Cannon, Executive Director of DC Diaper Bank; Chris Blake, then Vice President of Kids in Distressed Situations. (Courtesy Alison Weir)
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Allison Weir is the director of programs for the National Diaper Bank Network, a start-up national nonprofit organization providing donations and support to diaper banks working with families in need. (Courtesy Alison Weir)

Alison Weir worked in the space and intelligence arena in the Air Force, but now she has a new mission — overseeing diaper supply programs to diaper banks across the U.S.

Weir is the director of programs for the National Diaper Bank Network, a start-up national nonprofit organization providing donations and support to diaper banks working with families in need.

“A lot of people are starting such programs in their living room, but they don’t have the resources to start the full nonprofit,” Weir said. “So what we’ve done is create this network of diaper banks — chat groups, references, technical assistance for agency management, etc. — that organizations can use to connect to families for such a basic need,” she said.

Headquartered in New Haven, Conn., the National Diaper Bank Network has worked with 165 diaper banks to help distribute more than 50 million diapers. Weir said she also works with organizations, such as Operation Showers of Appreciation, that assist military families.

“A lot of military families are having a tough time, too ... [these couples] tend to get married younger, and even though they have a steady paycheck, it’s not a large paycheck. It can be a struggle,” she said.

Weir has been with the network since it opened its doors in December 2011.

Weir retired from the Air Forcein 2007 as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years. She was a project manager for military space programs, taught English at the Air Force Academy, worked at the National Reconnaissance Office, and was a speechwriter for the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper in 2003. In between, she found the time to get a law degree and a doctorate degree in English.

While practicing law, a pro bono project with a local diaper bank came along that she felt “gave her a purpose.”

“This is important,” she said. “Why? Because children are the future, and they need these basics to grow, to focus on a healthy lifestyle.”

Weir said the network also is working with food banks, and is facilitating educational programs about child poverty.

“We are doing more educational ‘missions’ as an agency to raise awareness on diaper need,” she said. “All of our partners are invited and encouraged to use this information — statistics, data, etc. — to promote awareness in their areas for fundraising, or for policymakers to take notice to make this world better for kids.”

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