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.