By Jueseppi B.
Mother’s in poverty face a very unsettling dilemma…buy food for their babies or buy diapers. The Diaper Banks are one solution. Cloth diapers are not a solution because most mothers in poverty don’t own a washer or a dryer, and laundromats do not allow soiled diapers to be washed in their machines for sanitation reasons.
The Diaper Bank (TDB) centralizes the fundraising and distribution of free diapers to poor families through existing service providers, including local food pantries, soup kitchens, daycare centers, social service agencies and shelters. Through its extensive Diaper Distribution Network (DDN) of 66 agencies, TDB provides free diapers to poor and low-income families in New Haven, Bridgeport, Hartford, and Middlesex County.
The Diaper Banks Mission Is Threefold In Scope:
1) to ensure that families living in poverty have an adequate supply of diapers for their infants and toddlers;
2) to raise community awareness that “basic human needs” include diapers and that these needs are not being met for children living in poverty;
3) to advocate for policy reform so that diapers are included in the definition of and provision for the “basic human needs” of families
The New Haven Diaper Bank was created in June of 2004 in response to the lack of public assistance for purchasing diapers for poor and low-income families. Recognizing that an inadequate supply of diapers puts families with young children at an increased risk for health and parenting complications, The New Haven Diaper Bank (NHDB) began distributing diapers to poor and low-income families in New Haven through approved social service agencies.
The first diaper distribution, held at the home of NHDBfounder Joanne Goldblum in July 2004, provided fewer than 5,000 diapers to 5 flagship agencies. Since 2004, The Diaper Bank has distributed more than 13,000,000 free diapers to families through our nationally recognized Diaper Distribution Network.
The Diaper Bank is committed to helping people around the country replicate our efforts in their communities. Here are some suggestions for getting started:
Read The Diaper Bank’s Agency Manual. The manual can help you understand exactly what we do.
Find one agency with which to work. Make a commitment to deliver diapers to one shelter, food pantry, head start program or place of worship. This will help determine if you will be able to raise the necessary funds and find volunteers to keep your diaper delivery going. It will also help you determine if you would be able to make a commitment on a larger scale.
Examine the needs in your community. Build a network of supporters and agencies. Start by sending out a brief survey to your local social service agencies and other places that serve low-income families within your community. Gather data on the number of children under 3 years of age living in poverty. Talk to community members and legislators about making sure that children’s basic needs are met.
Contact The Diaper Bank. We are happy to speak to you if you have any questions along the way. Over the last 4 years we have worked with organizations in Rhode Island, New York and San Francisco as well as organizations throughout Connecticut.
Safety-net programs such as the Food Stamp Program and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) do not cover the cost of diapers.
An adequate supply of diapers can cost over $100 per month.
The vast majority of licensed day care centers do not accept cloth diapers, and require parents and caregivers to provide a steady supply of disposable diapers.
Most people living in poverty do not have affordable access to washing facilities. Furthermore, most coin-operated laundromats do not allow customers to wash cloth diapers for health and sanitary reasons.
In poor and low-income families, a baby can spend a day or longer in one diaper, leading to potential health and abuse risks.
Low-income parents cannot take advantage of free or subsidized childcare if they cannot afford to leave disposable diapers at childcare centers. If parents cannot access daycare, then they are less able to attend work or school on a consistent basis. This in turn leads to increased economic instability and a continuation of the cycle of poverty.
Without transportation, buying diapers at an inner city convenience store rather than a large retailer can double or triple the monthly cost for diapers. Many parents are already struggling to pay for rent and food and simply cannot afford the high cost of an adequate supply of diapers for their children.
If you are an individual or agency in the Greater New Haven area, Hartford or Bridgeport, please, call us at 203-934-7009 to find contact information for Diaper Distribution Network (DDN) Partner Agencies in your area. Each agency sets up its own hours of operation and a distribution schedule.
For more information or help connecting with an agency, please, contact The Diaper Bank at http://www.thediaperbank.org or call us at 203-934-7009.
Please note that The Diaper Bank does not distribute diapers directly.
If you are an agency looking to become a member of the Diaper Distribution Network (DDN), please fill out an application (see link on right) and fax it back to us at 877-350-2112. You may also email it to Kym Hunter, Program Manager at email@example.com or mail it to us at The Diaper Bank, P.O. Box 9017, New Haven, CT 06532.
For agencies who have already joined the Diaper Distributin Network, please use the Diaper Distribution Network Appointment Calendar to the right to check on the time of your next scheduled distribution.
other diaper banks
|The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona may be the first of its kind, but others have taken up the task of helping people in need. Below are links to other Diaper Banks around the country, a complete list is available at the National Diaper Bank Network.|
Start a Diaper Bank
If you are interested in starting a Diaper Bank in your community we are always willing to share our experience. Check out our Getting Started Page.
- So How Many Diapers Do We Need? (diaperbanknetwork.wordpress.com)
- Corrine Cannon helps local moms with D.C. Diaper Bank (wjla.com)
- Raising Awareness (diaperbanknetwork.wordpress.com)