Pictures of babies and puppies makes you smile. They are so cute and cuddly and soft. The phrase “as soft as a baby’s bottom” comes to mind.
Now, imagine not being able to afford diapers for the bottom of your baby. That’s where Idaho Diaper Bank comes in. Idaho Diaper Bank provides diapers and wipes to families experiencing diaper need through an alliance of social service agencies, foodbanks, low-income medical services, homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters. This service is a lifeline for mothers, grandmothers, and fathers of these families.
Add a pandemic to the mix and the need grows. Idaho Diaper Bank gave out 100,000 diapers in March. By far their largest monthly distribution, and surpassed 3 million in six years. With the $600 added unemployment benefits, double food stamps, and rent relief the need for diaper assistance has lessened. But, like toilet paper, the store shelves were also empty of diapers.
Idaho Diaper Bank stepped up again and began direct giving to families and personally delivering diapers to families who reached out in desperation. In April when a grandmother needed diapers for her grandkids, she called the Idaho Diaper Bank. While her daughter was at work as an essential worker making minimum wage, there was no car to get to a foodbank for diapers. During this pandemic, Kate Aravich, Executive Director of the Diaper Bank, keeps supplies in her car. After getting the call from the grandmother, Kate drove over to the home and dropped off diapers for the baby and pull-ups for the toddler.
Board members do more than go to meetings once a quarter. Mary Kay Klein, secretary of the board for the Diaper Bank and co-director of Birthright of Boise, connected with a family who had recently found housing, after being homeless living in their car. Mary Kay helped the mother apply for a cloth diaper kit. The mother has expressed her gratitude for the diapers for her newborn and a potty chair for her toddler. She had clean diapers for her baby and was able to potty train her toddler.
Idaho Diaper Bank was formed to address the silent crisis of diaper need in 2014. Diapers can’t be purchased with food stamps or WIC and represent a significant portion of the monthly budget for the Idaho families struggling to provide basic necessities like food, shelter and hygiene. For the families of the 46% of children in Idaho under the age of three, living in poor or low-income households, diapers are expensive and can cost $80 to $100 a month per child. There are many consequences of diaper need with sanitary health concerns, delayed development and maternal depression being just a few. The vision of the Idaho Diaper Bank is to ensure every diaper wearing person in Idaho has access to the diapers and diapering supplies they need to remain clean, dry, healthy, and happy. They provide over 70,000 diapers per month to fifty plus agencies including domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, early leaning program, low income health centers, and foodbanks.
For more information: www.idahodiaperbank.org