BY NICk PEASE, DIRECTOR OF GRACE CARE CENTER FOOD PANTRY
I’m the father of two young children. And I love being a dad, but several years ago no one warned me about all of things parents need to raise a young child. You need bottles, formula, burp cloths, clothes, bibs, baby food, spoons, and the list goes on and on. And let’s not forget the diapers. You need so many diapers!
In the food pantry we understand the importance of all of these items. Which is why we do our best to stock as many of these essential needs as possible. But unfortunately there is one of these items that disappears off the shelf week after week. Do you want to guess what item that is? If you guessed diapers, you guessed correctly.
For anyone with small children, or anyone who has ever had small children, you know the vital importance of diapers. A family that is struggling financially or in a time of need can’t say, “Hmm, I think we’ll just skip diapers this week.” That’s not really a good idea and, as the father of a one-year-old, I personally would not advise it!
The challenge for those families is that diapers are a very expensive item. (Read this Washington Post article to learn what the real cost of diapers is for a low income family.) Did you know that the cost of diapers increases as the size goes up, but the number of diapers decreases? So as your child grows you are spending more money on less diapers. And it’s not like you need them for just the first couple of months of your child’s life. They are a constant need.
According to Realdiapers.org an average child could use as many as 6,000 diapers during their first two years of life. At an average cost of $.20 per diaper, that is a staggering $1,200 spent on diapers alone. And that is per child, for only the first two years! But despite the massive costs, cutting them out of the budget is obviously not an option either.
Unfortunately, the issue is much deeper for low-income families since diapers are not covered by government programs such as SNAP (also known as food stamps) or WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). This forces families to make extremely difficult decisions like making diapers last longer or making children wear incorrect sizes. All of these things can lead to serious health issues for children.
That is why we do our very best to keep the pantry fully stocked with diapers week in and week out.
And so, this is where you come in. For the entire month of March, we will be once again conducting our annual diaper drive. Last year Grace Church responded in a massive way, donating over 50,000 diapers. And we would love to reach that total again this year.
But here’s the thing – this year we have a special request – we only need Size 5 and 6 diapers.
By the end of the week we often completely run out of size 5 and 6 diapers. Which means we have to tell families we do not have the diapers they desperately need. Because of ongoing donations through our 12-month green bag program and partnership with Gleaners Food Bank, we are able to maintain a consistent supply of sizes newborn – 4. But unfortunately we can’t say the same for sizes 5 and 6.
And so through our diaper drive we can face this place of injustice head on. Because in the end it is so much more than a box of diapers. It is telling our friends we love them and that we want to care for them and their family in the best way possible. So please consider picking up a package or two (or ten) of size 5 or 6 diapers next time you make a trip to the store. Because for families in need, they simply do not have that option.
It's more than diapers. It's telling our friends that we love them and want to care for them.Tweet This
For more information about the Care Center, to sign up to volunteer, or to sign up for the 12-month Green Bag Program, please visit gracechurch.us/carecenter.