Lack of Diapers a Hidden Consequence of Poverty Leading to Stress, Health Problems

Sep 27, 2017

The CNY Diaper Bank and founder Michaela Hugo in new Shoppingtown Location is observing National Diaper Need Awareness Month.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

About 500 disadvantaged families in Central New York are getting a helping hand with something most parents take for granted – diapers.  The C-N-Y Diaper Bank handed out 27-thousand diapers last month.  Founder Michaela Hugo is acknowledging National Diaper Need Awareness Week by bringing attention to the problem.

“They’re so expensive, not being covered by any government assistance.  Families truly, truly struggle and it really makes an impact on them on a monthly basis.  So many just go without.  And without clean diapers, there’s a lot of negative consequences for the children and the families.” 

Volunteers bundle the diapers by stacks of 50 to distribute through local human service agencies.

There are the obvious issues of rashes, infections, and more doctors’ visits for the kids.  But Hugo says parents also suffer from higher stress and depression when they can’t make their baby comfortable with a clean diaper … because they can’t afford it. 

One of the C-N-Y Diaper Bank’s volunteers started helping when she had her own infant.  Board member Cayla Clark explains the struggles for families when they run out of diapers and money. 

“You really can’t do anything when that happens.  You can’t bring your child to the store when you don’t have diapers.  And if I didn’t have any money, it would have been an even bigger issue.  So, really I remember that moment of feeling helpless, and decided I wanted to be part of what Michaela was doing.”

Diaper Bank Board Member Cayla Clark explains the struggles for families when they run-out of diapers and money.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

Clark and about 25 other volunteers bundle diapers so local agencies can hand them out to those in need. 

“You know that you’re helping a mother maybe have a better connection with her child because (they) don’t have that stress of not having diapers.  You don’t have a child that’s constantly crying because they don’t have a clean diaper that they’re in.  It’s really about helping bring families back together.”

The Diaper Bank is now in Shoppingtown Mall…there’s also a website, with a list of agencies that distribute the diapers.  Hugo feels they’re helping attack part of a larger problem.

“If one out of two children in Syracuse lives in poverty, then you can guarantee all of those families, all of those children, are experiencing diaper need.  It’s a consequence of poverty and it exists, and every family that struggles with basic needs struggles with diapers.”

The Diaper Bank seeks donations and volunteers … again the website is:

The National Diaper Bank Network sponsored Diaper Need Awareness week