January 11, 2011; Source: Public News Services | An upcoming drive to help collect an essential child care product and raise awareness of the need facing many low-income families is likely to become the butt of many jokes, including one organizers are telling themselves. On Saturday, a Minnesota nonprofit aims to collect some 200,000 diapers to fulfill a pledge of "No Child Wet Behind."
According to Kristen Grode, who founded The Diaper Drive last year, and which today operates as a diaper bank, many low-income families can't afford a sufficient supply of clean, dry diapers. "Diapers are a basic need just like food and shelter, yet public programs designed to address basic needs – like food stamps – don't cover diapers, so we're trying to fill this critical gap for low-income families," said Grode.
According to Public News Service, a study commissioned by Kimberly Clark, which makes a popular brand of disposable diapers, one of three mothers across the country are scrimping on purchases of other basics, such as food, utilities or child care, to buy enough diapers. Even the $100 a month outlay for diapers is more than some families can afford, said Grode. "There are families out there that end up leaving their children in a diaper for a day or more because they just can't afford another pack of diapers."
When asked why mothers don't instead opt for cloth instead of disposable diapers, Grode says many subsidized day-care facilities that low-income working couples rely on don't allow them. "For families who are trying to become financially independent, that can be a frustration. So it's a more logical solution for low-income families to use disposable diapers."
Grode also notes that some laundromats don't permit customers to use their machines to wash cloth diapers, which is another challenge to families who don't have access to any other laundry facilities. For now, organizers of this weekend's drive really hope to clean up.—Bruce Trachtenberg