Diaper Pantries Help Families Keep Their Babies Clean and Dry

A simple concept with a huge impact.

Mar 3, 2023
Diaper Pantries Help Families Keep Their Babies Clean and Dry | A simple concept with a huge impact.

Diapers and babies go hand-in-hand. And babies go through a lot of diapers to keep them clean, dry and healthy. According to Pampers, newborns may use 10-12 diapers a day. While the amount decreases as babies get older and start eating solid food, there is still a huge number of diapers used from birth to potty training.

Having enough diapers is something many take for granted but for families living in economically distressed conditions, being able to change their baby’s diapers as frequently as necessary can be a daily struggle. In fact, one in three US families experience diaper need, according to the National diaper Bank Network (NDBN). This organization helps to provide diapers to keep babies healthy and allows entrance to day care centers so that mothers can work and support their families.

Diaper banks
Diaper banks or pantries function like food banks by distributing to families in need, reported Forbes. Even before diaper needs soared, these community efforts helped make the lives of neighborhood families easier. It was a way for moms to help moms.

The first official diaper bank opened in Southern Arizona in 1994 with a diaper drive for the holidays. It was so successful that it became an annual tradition.  Just five years later, the drive collected 300,000 diapers. This inspired the NDBN which was launched in 2011.

Diaper banks provide free diapers to parents who live below or near the poverty line and cannot provide these essentials for their little ones.  This nationwide team effort is providing diapers through banks and nonprofit organizations, In Toledo, Ohio, the Salvation Army diaper bank gives out tens of thousands of diapers every month, reported MSN.

Most diaper banks rely on donated diapers from manufactures, stores, and people to keep the shelves stocked. Others, like the diaper bank in Tucson rely on diaper drives. Many diaper banks also advocate for families in need.

Expanding the mission
Diaper poverty does not exist in a vacuum. People who are in need, also experience period poverty, according to Forbes. Many women and girls struggle to purchase period supplies and that keeps women out of work and girls out of school. In fact, one in four people who menstruate cannot afford period supplies. To help meet this need, many diaper banks have expanded to become period supply banks too.

Lobbying to end taxation on diapers and period products is part of the advocacy work  that NDBN and its local organizations do. Another is promoting legislation on a state level for schools to provide free period products in school bathrooms.

“This problem needs recognition from anyone. It’s not just about girls helping girls, it’s everyone helping each other,” Quinn Joy, Girls Helping Girls. Period. co-founder told Forbes. This simple concept is an easy way to make a huge impact.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.