You can’t buy diapers with food stamps or get them through WIC (Women, Infants and Children). Yep, it’s true – public assistance programs don’t cover diapers. And, when children and family service organizations are asked what kind of donations are needed, diapers are always a top request.
22% of all children under five years old in the U.S. live in poverty and one out of every three families struggle to afford diapers. Families in need make tight choices with their money. Imagine having to choose between food, medicine, or diapers — a terrible option, yet an all-too-common one.
If a family can’t afford diapers, a baby may spend extended periods of time in the same soiled diaper. The need is so great that diapers are sometimes re-used after they have been soiled. Babies in dirty diapers suffer. It can lead to serious health problems for them and disease outbreaks for entire communities.
Diapers cost an average of $75 to $100 per month and that’s a lot of dough to drop for the 46.2 million people living in poverty in the U.S. That’s a grand total of $2,850 to diaper one child with regular changes. Many low-income shoppers also have to frequent drug stores or urban convenience stores resulting in higher costs than big box stores or online retailers.
If parents who can afford to do so, all across the Bay Area, chip in for diaper funds this week, we can make a real difference to struggling families. Are you in?
Funds will go through Help A Mother Out, an Oakland-based non-profit dedicated to distributing diapers to families in need. Disclosure: I am on the Board of this organization.