In 2012, retired from a career in maternity nursing, I joined an effort to start a food bank in our town of 900 people. Though small, we were prepared for most requests; that is, until the day a mother came in search of baby diapers. We had none, so one of our volunteers bought a package of diapers to give her the next time she came in. Soon after, more women came looking for diapers, including a mother-to-be who was expecting twins. She was going to need help. We felt empathy for her and the others, but we had no diapers to give. We were concerned and disheartened.
Consulting other food banks, we learned that few if any of them, donated diapers. We were told diapers are not only a big cost item that cuts into a food bank’s ability to buy food, but they take up considerable room on a food delivery truck and to store. Diapers aren’t just for little babies. They come in big boxes of sizes newborn to seven, as well as pull-ups! If you are donating diapers, families may require any size.
Eventually I learned by reading the Huggies Every Little Bottom Study of 2010, one in three mothers in America report struggling to buy an adequate supply of diapers for their babies and small children. I had no difficulty seeing “diaper need”, as it was named, as a huge problem.
I sometimes refer to the phrase “NotOnMyWatch” to explain why, in 2017, I founded a “Diaper Bank”. I could not get the thought of mothers and babies and their need for diapers off my mind. If you have not yet heard of diaper need, Diaper Banks, or the founding of the National Diaper Bank Network in 2011, you are not alone. Though awareness is growing, diaper need is considered a silent crisis in our country, and a consequence of poverty that is not yet well known or fully understood.
Is the lack of diapers impacting children or families you know? Think about this and if yes, please share how this problem is affecting them. This question is seeking to better understand if/how limited access to (costly!) diapers impacts families.