solve an important piece of the poverty puzzle for young parents living in poverty by giving them the hand up they need to work for their families. Diapers are expensive — a month’s supply for one child can cost between $70 and $80, and diapers cannot be purchased with CalFresh benefits or WIC. As a result, parents try to make do without diapers by stretching their supply by leaving babies in dirty diapers longer or by reusing diapers.
A diaper is a small thing, but its impact is significant. Not having diapers means parents cannot leave their children with a childcare provider, most of whom require parents to provide disposable diapers for their children. So parents cannot go to work to earn money. Not having diapers means a longer time between changes, which can lead to severe diaper rash and other health problems. Not having diapers means that babies who cry because their diaper is dirty will cry that much longer, increasing stress for parents struggling to make ends meet. And not having diapers can adversely affect a mother’s feeling of self-worth, negatively impacting the mother-child bond.
The need is significant. A healthy child will require an average of 50 diaper changes a week. That’s approximately 2,600 diaper changes a year. And with more than 48% of the nation’s children under age three living below the poverty level or in low-income families, there are approximately 5.4 million children across America who could need assistance.
The Diaper Bank Program is helping by distributing diapers to families in need through its regional hubs throughout San Diego County. The objective of the program is to provide much-needed diapers to low-income parents who reside in San Diego County so they can remain employed, provide for their families, and lift themselves out of poverty.