Poverty is growing across Syracuse and with poverty comes the lack of basic needs and for struggling moms diapers are a need they can’t go without. Michela Hugo founder and president of the CNY Diaper Bank says she learned that 1 in 3 moms nationally struggle to buy diapers for their babies.
“As a mom, you feel overwhelmed when you have a baby, and you just think; ‘I’m someone who can meet the needs of my baby I have the means to meet the needs’ and you think about all the moms out there who are struggling with basics with themselves let alone the basics for the baby. And I think that really hit home with me and I just wanted to do something locally.”
Hugo says because there is no government assistance to cover the cost of diapers for families, providing clean diapers for their children becomes nearly impossible which can result in long-term problems for their baby.
“Families struggle, they try to stretch diapers farther; they keep babies in diapers for too long and they’re dirty so that results in diaper rash. They’re stressed because they can’t change their baby’s diapers so that results in less effective bonding with their children and less quality time spent with their children.”
Through her research Hugo learned that day care requires parents to supply diapers and if they cannot bring diapers their kids cannot attend day care. Hugo says this creates a barrier to work resulting in less income. She says diapers seem like a small thing but they carry a large impact on families and getting them out of poverty.
“Over 75% say they have lower stress levels because they’re receiving diapers. We know the impacts of parents under stress passes onto their babies, especially young babies; that can have life-long consequences for them. They’re also saying that their children are healthier and happier as a result of having enough clean diapers. They’re also saying it frees up funds for other essentials.”
Hugo says they collect diapers through diaper drives at schools, work places, and scout troop. She says it’s an easy way to spread awareness of diaper needs and it gets people involved. Hugo says fund raisers like these help them reach the 3,000 dollars they need to buy 25,000 diapers monthly.
“For families that need diapers, can go to our website and find out which agencies around town have diapers for them. They can’t come directly to us for diapers because we don’t distribute to families but it’s important for them to know they can go to Salvation Army or Rescue Mission and get the diapers that they need.”
Hugo says volunteers of all ages are needed or people can donate at local libraries and donation spots such as Once Upon a Child.
DIAPERS CAN BE PICKED UP AT THESE LOCATIONS:
Peggy Liuzzi, Vice President of the board of CNY Diaper Bank, says diaper wrapping is one of the best ways to get involved and help out young families.
“I volunteer because I care about young children and families and this is such a concrete way to help them. There’s a real need for diapers a real affordability question which any young parent will tell you. And for low income families it’s really a struggle to provide the diapers babies need and I want to see babies secure and healthy and happy and this is one of the ways I can do that.”
For more information and volunteer opportunities visit http://www.cnydiaperbank.org/.