“Mohammed” connected with one of our partners via his child’s school. His wife was hospitalized for two months with complications from delivering their baby. He could no longer work, as he needed to be home caring for the new baby and two other children (including one with disabilities). They received free diapers through our program, and expressed many times how much the assistance meant to their family. His wife is now home, Mohammed is back to work, and they no longer need emergency diaper assistance.
Diaper need is prevalent. Mohammed’s story illustrates the challenge of diaper need. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, one in three American families experiences diaper need (“the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep an infant or child clean, dry, and healthy”). A lack of clean diapers can lead to health risks for children, such as severe diaper rash and infections. Parents may experience anxiety and depression as a result of not being able to soothe their children.
There can also be spiraling economic impact. Diaper need can impact access to child care, as most (even free and subsidized facilities) require parents to provide an adequate supply of disposable diapers. Limited access to child care can further impact parents’ employment and overall economic health. While supports may be available for families with low incomes, there are few resources to help with diaper need. Currently, no state or federal child safety-net programs allocate dollars for diapers.
There are approximately 114,000 children between the ages of 0-3 in the seven-county metro area. When we examine this group based on poverty data, we can estimate that there are approximately 40,000 children in the Twin Cities who lack access to clean diapers. It would take 400,000 diapers EACH day to help support these families.
How can you help? The Diaper Bank of Minnesota is working to address diaper need in the Twin Cities. You can help us by hosting a diaper drive, volunteering, or making a donation. Contact us to learn more about these opportunities.