BOISE -- If you have a baby or toddler, you know how expensive diapers are. Diapers run about $100 a month per child, and some families just can’t afford the cost. In 2014, Shawna Walz of Boise decided to do something about diaper need for Idaho families. She started the Idaho Diaper Bank.
“This is an issue that is definitely a need in Idaho, Diaper need, and it's something we can tackle. We can get after this, we can do something about it as a community," Walz said “There are families that don't have enough diapers, and there are children that are literally in the same diaper all day long.”
The Idaho Diaper Bank is a non-profit with 40 community partners. The bank distributes the diapers to those partners to give to families in need.
“Food pantries, churches, faith-based organizations, early childcare learning centers, domestic violence centers," Walz listed. "Diapers are often a gateway to other services.”
One of them is the FACES of Hope Victims Center, a safe place for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
“For us to be able to say we have this great partnership with the Idaho Diaper Bank, do you need diapers today? Then not only offer them, but give them fifty diapers per child that day with wipes," said Britney Durrell, of FACES. "It's often the difference for a lot of people between staying in a bad situation, or leaving. We have moms who come in that just burst out into tears because they didn't know it was available.”
The Idaho Diaper Bank services people of all ages.
“We get donations of adult products, too," Walz said. "Our goal is that any diaper-wearing person would have access to the supplies that they need. Also, sometimes older children with disabilities are in need of incontinence products.”
Some of the diapers are donated by people in the community who have diaper drives. The bank also accepts open packages of diapers that children may have grown out of. But they are part of a bigger network.
“We are a part of a national diaper network. We were selected this year by the National Diaper Bank and Kimberly Clarke/Huggies to receive semi-trucks of diapers,” she said.
To stock even more diapers, the diaper bank has negotiated a discounted price with manufacturers - that increases Shawna's purchasing power.
“When people donate dollars to the Idaho Diaper Bank, we can make those dollars stretch so much further," Walz said. “The Idaho Diaper Bank is a volunteer organization, we are really efficient with our funds. Nearly 98 cents of every dollar that comes into the diaper bank goes directly to the purchase of diapers.”
Shawna Walz is dedicated to making sure the shelves stay stocked. Being a part of Idaho Gives this Thursday, May 4 will help make that happen.