Why This D.C. Mom Had to Create a Diaper Bank for Her Community
"I think right now people are looking for ways to create a more just and equitable society and it can be daunting."
When 2014 L'Oréal Woman of Worth recipient Corinne Cannon gave birth to her son back in 2009, she quickly realized nothing could have prepared her for motherhood.
Her baby boy had colic and was often restless, leaving the new mom exhausted — even though she had family support.
And while it would have certainly been easy, and completely fair, to slip into solely thinking about her own journey, Cannon began to think of all the other mothers who weren't as privileged as her. That's when she knew she needed to find a way to uplift new moms in her community.
To Cannon's surprise, she found out that diapers weren't covered by food stamps or WIC funds, which is what lead her to create the Greater D.C. Diaper Bank on her son's first birthday in October 2010.
Here, we spoke with the now mother-of-two (who swears by the L'Oréal Kids haircare line for her children) about her foundation, what it means to be a L'Oréal Woman of Worth, and how COVID-19 has affected her initiative.
You created the Greater DC Diaper Bank in 2010 after becoming a new mom. What’s one thing motherhood taught you about giving back?
When I had Jack, I was struck by how much of parenting is universal. If you are well off or struggling, you’re still looking for your three-year-old's shoes every single time you go to leave the house. If we can tap into what is universal about our lives, we can understand one another more. Our work is about giving to the community we want to live in and the world we want to create. If people understand that we are all part of the same experience and the same community they want to get involved in our work.
How has COVID-19 impacted your organization? Have you seen an uptick in people needing the service?
Our organization, like many, has seen an enormous amount of change in the way we’ve worked and done things in the past. From canceling all volunteer events and on-site help, to re-working our distribution channels with partners – the impact has been massive. Due to COVID-19 we’ve shifted a bit in our operations and opened up 20 Diaper Need Hub locations, partnering with local service organizations to provide food and diapers to families in need. Since the pandemic hit, we’ve seen a 350% increase and have distributed close to three million diapers, just within the first half of this year.
Take me back to the moment you found out you became a L'Oréal Woman of Worth. What does it mean for you to hold this title?
I was honored to be named a L'Oréal Woman of Worth amongst so many other phenomenal women. I think for me it really drives home the importance of holding up the work of women and the unique ways that they create positive change.
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How has L'Oréal supported your journey?
One of the biggest gifts of the Women of Worth program has been meeting other women who have created a more beautiful world in communities around the country. L'Oréal has also donated products to our work.
What’s your advice to busy moms who want to find a way to give back to the community?
I think right now people are looking for ways to create a more just and equitable society and it can be daunting. The first step is to find an issue that you care deeply about – and do your research into the issue. What change do you want to create and how do you best go about it? And then dive in. That will be different for each person. Maybe it’s dollars or amplifying an issue or organization in your networks. Maybe it’s volunteering time or professional know-how. Whatever skill you have to give, it’s needed.