This particular item is quite different from anything I have written about before in the Washington Watch, so forgive my interjection of this topic. And if you are not curious feel free to move on to the next section which is “Quotes”.

A while back my niece Nicki turned 50. I sent her a financial gift and when she sent me a thank you note she said she had given the money to the St. Louis Diaper Bank.
I had never heard of a diaper bank so I asked what it did. She told me that she volunteered at an organization in St. Louis that provided diapers to families who cannot afford them. So I made an additional contribution directly to the St. Louis Diaper Bank.
I then had a conversation with a young woman who has a 1 ½ year old baby. From her I learned that when her baby was ill she and her husband could use up to 15 diapers a day. They can afford to pay for the diapers they need and use a regular delivery service available on Amazon.

I then asked my wife Debbie and a number of other female friends whether they had ever heard of diaper banks and none of them had. I decided to learn more.

Nicki told me that the St. Louis Diaper Bank was a part of a larger national organization. So I did the obvious thing and went searching online.

I found the website for the National Diaper Network. The Network has 320 affiliates in 46 states, DC and Guam. Here is what I learned from the Network’s website:

  • 5.2 million children in the U.S. aged 3 or younger live in poor or low income families
  • 1 in 3 American families report experiencing diaper need
  • Diapers cannot be obtained with food stamps
  • Disposable diapers cost $70-80 per month per baby
  • Infants require up to 12 diapers per day, toddlers about 8

There is an excellent directory of all the state and local organizations which allows you to connect with them in a single click.

It appears that by buying in bulk the diaper banks can often get lower prices than one can get commercially. And while Amazon and Target both have some lower priced options, you can’t beat free.

There is one positive legislative item to note. California has passed legislation that will provide $30/month/child stipend to qualified CalWorks families with young children. It is the first such statewide program designed to help struggling families with diaper needs.

This is not intended to be a direct solicitation but if this piece has piqued your interest and you want to help, it is easy to go on the NDN website (nationaldiapernetwork.org) for additional information or to find a diaper bank near you.