Diapers and other personal care needs aren’t covered by programs like Food Stamps. They’re not available at most food banks.
But if you have a baby or toddler, they’re not optional either. Lack of enough diapers to keep a baby clean can lead to a whole host of physical and behavioral problems. And now researchers are finding a link between being unable to afford diapers and a mom’s increased risk for depression. Which of course, then affects her ability to care for an uncomfortable, fussy baby — or a baby who may even be in pain with severe diaper rash and other infections. It’s becomes a downward spiral in which no one wins.
And for older people in need of incontinence protection, having adult diapers can mean the difference between going out in public at all…or becoming a recluse.
Cloth diapers might sound like an option for people with children, but the laundry costs can quickly become financially prohibitive for that, too. Especially if, like so many people in apartments, you don’t have a washer and dryer at home. (Trust me…I did the cloth diaper route! It was hard to keep up even WITH a washer and dryer!) Add to that the fact that most day care programs won’t accept a child in cloth diapers, and you have a secondary economic issue.
Thank goodness there are people stepping in to help to fill this need here in Austin. I met the ladies behind the Austin Diaper Bank at a Texas M.I.L.K. event a few months ago. I learned that the group was the idea of founder Beverly Hamilton. She read about a similar program in other cities across the country, and was touched by the impact of the programs on the lives of children and families. But when she learned that Austin had no such program, she stepped into the void. The Austin Diaper Bank was born in June of 2013.
“There are many reasons people need help with diaper costs,” the volunteers told me. “It could be a family living in poverty, a job loss, a divorce or an illness. And with seniors, it’s an on-going problem as income doesn’t keep up with higher prices.”
The program is currently run out of the director’s home, but is looking for help with renting a space so they can accept more donations, sort and repackage them, and get them out to the growing numbers of families in need. The group has already taken in and distributed over 50,000 diapers to date. But the need keeps expanding.
So how can you help? So glad you asked! Austin Diaper Bank is always in need of diapers, volunteers to sort, package and deliver diapers and to get the word out. Check out their How YOU Can Assist ADB in 2014 page for the details. That package or two of baby, toddler or adult diapers you donate could make a big difference to a family in crisis.