By KIA MORGAN SMITH
Last year it really ticked me off when my son’s teacher left him in a soiled diaper all day. It was obvious when I picked him up that he probably hadn’t been changed since breakfast. The circles on his bright red butt cheeks should have been brown, but they were chaffed and scaly and he was crying and agitated. And so was I. His skin is just as sensitive as his delicate digestive system which can only consume coconut milk. Needless to say that was his last day at that daycare and probably the first day I realized that there are actually babies who sit in wet, soiled diapers because their struggling parents stretch its use because their dollars are short.
I can’t imagine that any parent would want to reuse a wet diaper, but the fact remains that 1 in 20 Americans struggling with a diaper need have cleaned out or reused a wet or soiled diaper. And in poor and low-income families, a baby can spend a day or longer in one diaper, leading to potential health and abuse risks.
Sure they can use cloth diapers at home. But here’s the thing: many poor families live in apartment buildings with no laundry facilities and when they do drag their clothes and cloth diapers to the laundromat, the cloth diapers are turned away and can’t be washed there because of health and sanitary reasons. Plus, disposable diapers are required at most daycare centers.
When I started thinking about this and really digging into my research, I also was taken aback when I learned that Atlanta is the poorest city in the U.S. for kids; more children in Atlanta live in poverty than in any other city, according to the Metro Atlanta Taskforce for the Homeless.
Low-income parents can’t take advantage of free or subsidized childcare if they can’t afford to leave disposable diapers at childcare centers. If parents can’t access daycare, then they are less able to attend work or school on a consistent basis. This in turn leads to increased economic instability and a continuation of the cycle of poverty.
Not only that, but an adequate supply of diapers can cost over $100 per month. That may be a drop in the bucket for you, but current welfare (TANF) benefits are $282 a month for a woman with two children. Could you find an apartment to rent on $282 a month, let alone live on that amount with two babies?
Here’s my thing: Too many people judge and criticize and say what a parent should do and what they should have done differently, but not enough of them actually take action and help bring about change.
That’s why in May, I founded Atlanta Diaper Relief, a 501(c3), non-profit organization dedicated to distributing diapers to poor families in need in Douglas, Cobb and Fulton counties. We are a diaper bank and through our diaper drives we collect diapers to low-income families in need with help from our partner agencies.
We will also ensure that families living in poverty have an adequate supply of diapers for their infants and toddlers, and raise community awareness that basic human needs include diapers needs that are not being met for children living in poverty.
I am proud of this mission and know that I can move mountains and eventually help thousands of families who really need us. Our motto is We relieve babies, starting from the bottom.
On September 24th, Atlanta Diaper Relief is having its FIRST Charity Benefit to raise money for families who need diapers and we’d like you to join us! Bring the kids and as many people as you’d like and come out to the new
That’s a play center located at 2505 Chastain Meadows Parkway, Suite 103, Marietta GA 30066. We’ll be there from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., boogying on down and having a dance party with a Laser light-up floor, lots of bubbles and a ball pit for little ones to literally have a ball! At the end of the day, hundreds of babies in Metro Atlanta will benefit from the money being raised. Please click HERE for more information about the event.
Can’t make it to the fundraiser? Please consider making a private, secure donate to Atlanta Diaper Relief at JustGive.org.
No baby deserves to sit in a soiled diaper all day. I hope you join this mission and help me to make this wish a reality for Metro Atlanta families.
Kia Morgan Smith, author of the delightful children’s book, Goony Goo-Goo and Ga-Ga Too, is a passionate and dedicated educator and former award-winning education reporter from Philadelphia. She has five kids and balances life like nobody’s business all of which she chronicles on her blog,CincoMom. She also is the founder and executive director of Atlanta Diaper Relief, the FIRST diaper bank in the metro Atlanta area solely dedicated to diaper distribution. She lives with her husband and their family in Atlanta.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.
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Wow, never thought of it like this. Didn’t realize diapers were so expensive!
Yes they are. And imagine if you have more than one little one in diapers! It could add up to a car note!
Interesting post! Sounds like a great way to reach out! I’ll do some research to see if we have something like this in Houston. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thanks a good question Rachelle!
thank you for this important work. while i knew diapers were expensive, it never occurred to me that a parent would need to reuse a wet diaper. that is just an awful thing to even imagine.
Thank you gradmommy. It’s definitely a sad reality.
Great piece — and great work overall! Wondering: do you know of specific places that accept actual diaper donations? I’ve got a ton of diapers sitting around from before my LO was potty trained and I hate the thought of them going to waste. Would love to know if you’ve got any tips on where I might take them, to help out in whatever way I can. Thanks!
Hand washing cloth diapers is also an option for those that don’t have access to washers and dryers.. it is far less expensive to make the investment and reuse clean cloth diapers.. However there are only about 6-7 Daycares in the state of Georgia that will use cloth diapers.. 1 in the city of Atlanta..
my daughter uses cloth diapers,and it has been a godsend to her. hand washing although not ideal, would always ensure clean diapers for the baby. much better then reusing a dirty diaper.
my daughter and her husband are very lucky as i bought them about $300 worth of cloth diapers when she was pregnant. she will never have to buy diapers and can donate hers when her daughter is potty trained… she is also fortunate to have a washer and dryer, but she has a wooden rack to hang the diapers to dry. they money she saves is a godsent to them as they are on a very tight budget. The cloth diapers today are very different then our grandmas, although those are back in style too. they look like disposable and actually adjust to accommodate a growing baby. they have inserts made from microfiber that dries very quickly. they can be washed by hand and many stay at home mothers do this, although not ideal it ensures that the baby will always have “clean” diapers available. and once again can they can be given to another mother when the baby is potty trained. remember our mothers and grandmothers did not have washing machines or disposable diapers and had to wash them by hand, cloth may not be to helpful for working mothers, but stay at home mothers could greatly benefit from this. I would love to start a project for cloth diapers for mothers who are in need. just knowing that a baby would always have a diaper…a clean diaper, has encouraged me to want to reach out to these mothers. would love some info/tips on how to help and reach out.
How would I get help with diapers?