For many families living in poverty, the only solution is to change their babies’ diapers less often, sometimes even reusing soiled diapers. They have no other choice.
Unfortunately, government programs such as WIC don’t allow families to use funds for diapers. And the cost of diapers is often much higher for low-income families because of limited access to transportation. Therefore, they are forced to buy overpriced diapers from local grocery or convenience stores, rather than buying in bulk at a wholesale store or online. Purchasing diapers this way can cost families up to $1,000 per year per baby. Cloth diapers are not an option, either, because many families don’t have their own laundry machines and diapers cannot be washed at laundromats.
Not being able to afford diapers creates other problems for families, as well. For example, most daycare centers require a supply of diapers, making it difficult for low-income families to find daycare for their children while they are at work.
When the Cleveland Diaper Bank closed its doors in 2016, Joannah Lynch wanted to find a way to fill this need. As a nurse practitioner at Neighborhood Family Practice, which provides care for families without insurance, she works with many low-income families who struggle to afford basic needs for their children, including diapers.
Lynch, a mom of three young children, made it her mission to help solve the diaper supply problem. In 2017, Lynch held her first CLE Diaper Drive. With the help of an Amazon.com wish list and generous donations from various mini-drives throughout Cleveland, Lynch collected 80,000 diapers for families in need.
The 3rd annual CLE Diaper Drive Kickoff Fundraiser takes place September 22 at Bottlehouse Brewery in Lakewood. Guests can bid on raffle baskets, get a chair massage or henna tattoo, make a craft, and shop for products from local vendors. Admission is free (but a donation of diapers is greatly appreciated).
Diapers can be dropped off at many participating locations on both the east and west sides of Cleveland. These include STEM Handmade Soap, Willow Room Salon, Puma Yoga, Lakewood Public Library, Lakewood Family Room, Playgrounds Café, O’Connor Dance Studio, Heights Libraries, and Senders Pediatrics. The drive runs from September 21 through September 29.
Do you have a partially full box of diapers that you no longer need? These can be donated as well.
Donate any time of the year via Amazon on the CLE Diaper Drive wish list.