Diaper banks see need for more resources

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Capital News Service

LANSING – For many families, diapers can cost up to $100 a month, so low-income families might not be able to afford them, a Lansing diaper bank director says.

To combat the problem, some communities have diaper banks and other programs through churches and volunteer organizations to provide diapers to families in need

Almost 30% of mothers nationally don’t have enough diapers, according to the National Library of Medicine. People of color and those struggling with mental health, finances and food security are more likely to face a shortage..

“We get about a hundred people every day that come and visit,” said Linda Karl, the director of the Capital Area Diaper Bank.

It’s given away over 320,000 diapers in the last year in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton and Shiawassee counties, she said.

Younger babies may need their diapers changed up to 12 times a day, according to the United Kingdom National Healthcare Service. 

Karl said the idea for her diaper bank came from programs that gave diapers to unhoused families.

“That’s when I became aware there was such a big need,” she said. 

A lack of diapers is detrimental to a child’s health. Dirty diapers can cause rashes and spread sickness, creating sanitary problems for the parents and other children, she said.

For example, in 2007, an outbreak of shigellosis in Citrus County, Florida, caused by a lack of clean diapers caused almost 200 people to have such symptoms as bloody diarrhea, stomach pain and fevers. 

Funding is a problem for most of the 13 Michigan nonprofit diaper banks that belong to the National Diaper Bank Network.

“When we get money from the state, it’s for diapers, but we can’t move them without operating expenses,” said Veronica Claybrone, the director of the Metropolitan Detroit Diaper Bank. 

The organization provides curbside pickup services and delivery from eight locations in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

“During the pandemic, the people who had money went to the store and bought all the diapers. We need to have a storehouse of diapers for people who don’t have money, and that’s my goal over the next five years” said Claybrone.

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