Here is a national issue with a funny-sounding name. Diaper Banks. It is also a little-known situation that is not receiving anything like proper attention or support. If you are like me, you had never heard of this at all.
Diapers for babies are not covered under government assistance programs. You can’t buy diapers with food stamps. Disposable diapers can run $70 to $80 per month per baby. What are poor families doing? In too many cases they are washing out and re-using cloth diapers, or simply not changing the baby’s diaper often enough. This leads to infections, which can be extremely serious in young kids. Forget diaper rash. Think urinary tract infections.
One in three American mothers report #DiaperNeed, or the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep their babies clean, dry and healthy. Without diapers, a baby or toddler cannot be admitted to most child care centers or early childhood education programs.
If the baby cannot be placed in day care or early childhood education, a parent cannot go to work.
On average, a baby will go through six to ten diapers a day.
With almost a third of young American children living in poverty or low-income homes, it doesn’t take a very powerful imagination to start seeing the problems, and indirect spin-off problems, that come from #DiaperNeed.
How many homeless shelters have an adequate supply of baby diapers, or toddler diapers? (To be effective, a diaper has to fit.) Diaper Banks currently provide clean diapers to approximately one million babies a year. You get an idea of the depth of the problem when you consider that over five million children under the age of three live in low-income homes.
You can start up a Diaper Bank locally, or support one that exists in your vicinity. This is a basic contribution to maintaining civilization. Nothing frivolous or unnecessary about it.
National Diaper Bank Network:
129 Church Street, Suite 611, New Haven, CT 06510
Something else comes to mind in regards to the homeless shelters. How many of them have basic feminine hygiene supplies? Those cost money, too, and are essential for health. How are poor women addressing that? A quick check turns up nothing like the national Diaper Banks for tampons. There are scattered individuals doing a little (inadequate) donating. That’s about it. This article from last year outlines the problem. It is apparently not one that many of us have ever considered.