As I’m sure you moms know, diapers are expensive. They can cost up to $100 a month per baby, which can stretch even a middle-class family’s budget. Therefore, it was quite a relief just a few weeks ago when my family got the “diaper raise” – my younger son finally potty-trained! After five and a half years of diaper changing (including a time for more than a year when we had to buy diapers for two kiddos) we no longer have the expense of purchasing diapers.
Now imagine you are the 1 out of 3 families in the country who struggle to afford diapers. There are 5.8 million babies in the United States aged 3 or younger who live in poor or low-income families, including 30% of families here in Waco. Not having enough diapers can mean that babies are left in soiled diapers longer or that parents re-use diapers that are meant to be single use. This can lead to health risks for the babies, such as rashes or infections. A supply of disposable diapers is also required at most childcare centers. If parents can’t provide them, they may not be able to enroll their children in early childhood programs, or even be able to enter the workforce themselves. Lack of access to diapers can even hinder a parent from getting or staying employed at the job they need to become financially self-sufficient.
And here’s the catch – there are no state or federal safety net programs that allocates money for diapers. You cannot buy diapers with SNAP (food stamps) or WIC (a federal program that helps provide food for women, infants and children). Many existing social service organizations, focusing on hunger, homelessness, abuse or pregnancy try to provide diapers to the families they serve, but they rely on irregular donations and often lack larger sized diapers for toddlers.
This is where the Waco Diaper Bank can help. Founded in 2015, our mission is to collect donations of diapers to distribute them to local social service organizations already serving families in poverty. We focus on diapers so that they can focus on their missions.
We provide those diapers through diaper drives, organized by volunteers working with the diaper bank, Girl or Boy Scout groups, churches, life groups, schools, fraternities or sororities, businesses – anyone can organize a drive! The Waco Diaper Bank then distributes the donations to our partner social service agencies. Right now, we are partnering with two agencies in town – Caritas and the Veterans OneStop, but as we grow, we will include more of the amazing organizations that work with people in need in Waco.
How Can Moms Help?
In the two years that I’ve been directing the Waco Diaper Bank, I’ve learned over and over that while Waco is a town that has a lot of need, it’s also a town with a lot of heart. I see moms on the front lines making a difference through donating, volunteering, and advocating for the least of these in our community. If you want to help get diapers to little bottoms that need them, there are lots of ways you can help:
- Donate Diapers – we have a few donation bins around town where you can drop off diapers. It doesn’t matter the size or the size of package or even if a package is opened. Even if it’s just the extra from when your own kid grew out of a size – we’ll happily accept any diapers.
- Host a Diaper Drive – whether it’s a moms’ group, church group, or workplace, organizing a diaper drive with the people in your community is and easy and effective way to bring in lots of diapers at once.
- Donate Money – through the National Diaper Bank Network, we have access to cheaper bulk purchasing of diapers, so we can make sure we have all the amounts and sizes of diapers we need for our community agency partners.
- Volunteer – we have volunteer days at our storage facility where we bundle up diapers for distribution. It’s a great way for teens and kids to and give their time to a good cause!
You can find out more about all these opportunities at our website: www.wacodiaperbank.org