BOISE, Idaho — Demand for diapers in the Treasure Valley is growing, but the Idaho Diaper Bank is ensuring no family is left behind and that parents have all the diapers they need.
Traci Lofthus, Idaho Diaper Bank executive director, said they gave out 65,000 diapers in August; that is 10,000 more diapers than in July.
“We have about 46% of the toddlers [ages] one through three in Idaho living at or below the federal poverty level,” she said. “That equates to about 31,000 babies in need of diapers.”
If parents do not have enough money to buy diapers, Lofthus said there can be negative consequences.
“[Parents] will keep their babies in diapers longer, causing disease, diaper rash. More crying creates a mother's depression, panic can lead also to abuse,” she said. “It's a horrible thing."
Loftus attributes the growing need to inflation. She said diapers are only getting more expensive and some families are struggling to afford them.
Diapers cost about $100 per child, Lofthus said. If you have one or two children, the total amount adds up quickly.
Idaho Diaper Bank tries to give parents at least half of the diapers they need each month, she said. To date, they have given away more than 5 million diapers.
The non-profit also has a cloth diaper program. But, Lofthus said cloth diapers simply do not work for some families. For example, she said parents who do not have regular access to a washer and dryer might have a harder time washing them, which may lead to infections.
The non-profit partners with over 50 businesses around the valley. Lofthus said all of the diapers donated to the diaper bank are distributed through those businesses.
“They work with the communities and with the families giving us then their requests for diapers for the needs that they have,” Lofthus said. “And then they pick up once a month.”
To help spread awareness about the need in Idaho, Gov. Brad Little is expected to sign a proclamation on Wednesday recognizing Sept. 24th through Oct. 2nd as National Diaper Need Awareness Week.
A move Lofthus is grateful for, but she said there is more work to be done.
“The government gives assistance for food, right? You have the [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program], and you have the WIC, the women and children's government distributions, but you don't have anything for diapers," Lofthus said.
Something she hopes changes in the future.
“We would like to have some conversations for sure on how we can better meet the need, and not just be from from our community, that we do get some government assistance," Lofthus said.
To help increase inventory, the Idaho Diaper Bank is hosting a diaper drive this week. A list of donation sites is listed on their website.
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