January 23, 2012
Over the last fifteen years, diaper banks have been popping up all over the country to provide diapers to families in need, but before now there was no national resource for people starting or looking for diaper banks. Enter the National Diaper Bank Network, which, thanks to the help of our Founding Sponsor, Huggies® Every Little Bottom, has been established to help existing diaper banks grow and to help people start new diaper banks. We’ve only been open for business for about a month, but we have already heard from diaper banks across the country and from many of you who want to start a diaper bank. We’ve also received calls from giving folks like Bob in Weymouth, Massachusetts who, after surviving brain surgery, decided to use his disposable income to provide diapers to a local child advocacy program.
As someone reading this blog, you probably already know that there are families who cannot afford diapers for their children. Diapers cannot be bought with food stamps or WIC vouchers, and they are expensive, costing as much as $100 a month. Many people are unaware of the difficulties some families face with diapers. This difficulty, which we call “diaper need,” can limit a family’s ability to achieve financial stability because a lack of diapers means parents cannot leave their children at childcare and go to work. It can also subject a child to bladder infection, dermatitis, and other health problems that result from staying in a dirty diaper too long. It can also increase a child’s chances for abuse, because a child in a dirty diaper is more likely to cry for longer period, and infant crying has been linked to child abuse.
Diaper banks help alleviate diaper need not only by providing diapers to families in need, but also by raising awareness of the problem. In order to fix a problem, people have to know that the problem exists. We’re here to help spread the word about diaper need, which in turn will help diaper banks raise funds and community support. We’re also here to help people who want to start diaper banks in their communities. We recently held our first webinar on starting a diaper bank, which is posted on our website.
We’re getting great responses to our initial efforts and look forward to hearing from more of you. Check this blog, our website and Facebook page for upcoming webinars and tools for diaper banks, and let us know about your efforts to raise awareness and combat diaper need in your communities. Thank you for all that you do!