Most Central New York moms will receive flowers, jewelry, or some other gift this weekend. But for moms living in poverty with infants, DIAPERS might be considered a welcome gift.
The CNY Diaper Bank is aiming to collect 100,000 donated diapers during their third annual, month-long diaper drive through special events and collection efforts. Founder and president Michela Hugo says they’re at least a quarter of the way there…but probably more…
"We have a number of other companies, churches, and schools participating this month. We don't know what their progress is yet."
She says diaper need is an overlooked consequence of poverty that isn’t covered by any assistance program. Hugo says stretching diaper use can lead to rashes and infections for babies, and added distress and depression for parents.
"Getting that 50 diaper supplement, whcih is what we give, that reduces their stress. That's so important. We also know that it also frees up money for them to spend on food, other bills, transportation, other essential expenses that are usually tied up in diapers."
Hugo says babies need 6 to ten diaper changes per day, so their supplement only lasts about a week. But she says it still helps…
"Families are spending so much more per diaper because they can only afford to buy a small pack. They're not buying in bulk to get a discount. So, they're paying a premium for those diapers because they're in a pack of 20."
She says the diaper bank uses donations to buy diapers in bulk at one half to two thirds less than retail. Hugo says that single need actually opens the door to other ways to help families.
"For example, Samaritan Center plans a distribution day every month where they distribute diapers to teh families, and they connect them with other resources at the same time. Last month, they connected them with WIC. Fourteen families were able to update their information or sign up for services they previously weren't receiving."
The diaper bank and its partner agencies distribute about 40,000 diapers per month, enough for 800 babies.
The next benefit event is Thursday, May 17th at the Get Air Syracuse Trampoline Park in Cicero, where a portion of the proceeds will benefit the CNY Diaper Bank. A list of collection sites and upcoming benefit events is at cnydiaperbank.org.