BY EMILY PATTERSON-JACKSON, GRACE ATTENDER
Years ago I was working in a food pantry and a young woman came in with her baby asking for diapers. She needed size 5’s but this pantry rarely had diapers. I told her that I was sorry but all we had were a couple packs of size 2’s. She asked if she could have those and she would just tape two diapers together to get it to fit her baby. I gave them to her and she stepped outside to put them on her baby. I watched her and saw that the baby had only a t-shirt wrapped around its waist in place of a diaper. Then I watched this mom piece together two tiny diapers to try to fashion a suitable diaper for her child.
One-third of American families struggle to afford adequate diapers. And when parents are unable to afford diapers, they often times have to resort to drastic measures to make the diapers stretch longer. Things like not changing the diaper as often, emptying out the solids and then putting the old diaper back on, taking off a wet diaper and leaving it to dry and then reusing it. This leads to severe diaper rash, UTI’s, and a host of other problems.
It’s also been found that a lack of an adequate supply of diapers also affects the mom’s mental health too, and a study found that it’s the variable that best predicted postpartum depression in new mothers.
And the poverty cycle continues because these same parents can’t send their children to daycares because they require a certain number of diapers provided by the parents. A study in 2017 from the National Diaper Network found that 60% of families in diaper need have missed work because they didn’t have enough diapers for childcare. And if you are thinking that cloth diapers would be the answer, the initial upfront cost for cloth diapers is prohibitive. Not to mention most daycares won’t accept cloth.
That's why every year, the Grace Church Care Center hosts a Diaper Drive for families in need. Whether you go to Grace or not, they'd love to have you participate. Simply drop your donations in the designated bins at the campus closest to you. While they will take any size, the most needed sizes are 5 & 6. If you're not near a Grace Church campus, I’m sure there are plenty more places around that would accept them as well (you can google ""food pantry near me"" to find a place in need).