National Diaper Awareness Week September 18-24
Having a baby is one of the joyful events in one’s life, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy by any means. One overlooked challenge is that millions of parents across the United States are struggling to afford diapers. According to the National Diaper Bank Network 2023 Diaper Check survey, 1 in 2 families cannot afford enough diapers to keep their babies clean, dry, and healthy in 2023. This shocking number marks a dramatic increase of diaper need from previous years.
This need isn’t only affecting low-income caregivers, it is widespread and cuts across income levels. According to the survey, 66% of families were categorized as low income, 28% as middle income, and 6% as high income.
In Santa Barbara County, families have to make hard choices. With high rent, inflation and increased food costs, parents and caregivers are struggling to cover the costs of basic needs, including diapers. Sadly, the only government assistance program that can be used to cover the cost of diapers is TANF, but few families qualify and those that do hardly receive enough funds to cover rent and utilities.
When caregivers don’t have enough diapers, babies are at greater risk of toxic stress and going to the hospital for diaper rash and UTI’s. In addition, small children cannot attend daycare or early education programs without diapers, resulting in parents having to forgo work and essential income.
Fortunately for Santa Barbara County residents, one local nonprofit is working to ensure families have access to this essential need.
“It was one of the needs in the community, and we decided to step up and provide diapers for families in need and become part of the diaper bank. We are helping our families feel less stressed, and have one less thing to worry about,” said Ana Maya, Director of the Family Resource Center at LEAP.
LEAP, which stands for Learn, Engage, Advocate, Partner, is a Goleta-based nonprofit that provides high quality childcare and family support services. The agency runs the only Diaper Bank in Santa Barbara County.
“I’m a legal guardian of three beautiful granddaughters. Without the support of the diaper bank it would have made it very difficult with the cost of diapers and wipes. Raising children has many challenges, knowing I could count on the support from the diaper bank defused the financial stress,” shared LEAP client, Maria Arroyo.
“Since we opened the Diaper Bank back in 2021 we have distributed more than 100,000 diapers and wipes to families in our community,” said Ana Maya. “Some families come all the way from Santa Maria and Lompoc. Diapers are one of the most requested services we see at the Family Resource Center.”
While the pandemic may be over, the need for diapers continues to grow. LEAP’s Diaper Bank remains open thanks to the generosity of donors and partnerships with other organizations, like the City of Goleta.
Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said, “Supporting the LEAP Diaper Bank program was an easy decision for the City to make. We are happy to support LEAP’s efforts that promote infant health while reducing families’ financial challenges.”
With National Diaper Awareness week right around the corner, September 18-24, here are a few things you can do to help address Diaper Need:
- Make a gift to support a diaper bank. Currently diaper banks are one of the only sources of help for families facing Diaper Need. To make a gift to LEAP’s Diaper Bank, visit leapcentralcoast.org/donate/ and select Diaper Fund.
- Donate diapers and wipes. Host a diaper drive with family and friends or simply purchase packs of diapers to donate to LEAP’s Diaper Bank.
- Contact your state and local officials and ask what they are doing to help families in your communities who are facing diaper need. Check out the National Diaper Bank Network Advocacy Toolkit for resources.
- Spread the word! Most people have no idea that this problem exists. Tell your friends and family about Diaper Need, and like, follow, and share diaper banks on social media. #EndDiaperNeed #BasicsArentBasic
- LEAP’s Diaper Bank provides families with diapers and wipes free of charge. For more information about making an appointment, email Ana Maya at email@example.com.
Pictured: Diaper Bank volunteers