Nearly 3,000 babies in Middlesex County live in families too poor to diaper them properly leaving their health and well-being seriously at risk.
In early 2009 United Way began an effort to spread awareness about the need for disposable diapers in Middlesex County and the lack of a permanent diaper bank in our area. We asked for guests at the Annual Meeting that year to bring a package of disposable diapers with them to the event and collected about 5,000. These diapers were provided to the WIC program at Middlesex Hospital to distribute to families in need.
Soon after, we were joined by the Middlesex Coalition for Children to expand the diaper drives. In 2010, the drives yielded more than 70,000 diapers.
An appeal for financial contributions, centered around Mother's Day and Father's Day, collected enough for us to become an official service area of The Diaper Bank, located in New Haven.
Now four local agencies receive a supply of disposable diapers from The Diaper Bank each month: Maternal and Child Health at Middlesex Hospital, Early Head Start, Even Start Family Literacy at Middletown Adult Education, and the Family Wellness Center at Community Health Center. In total, our area will receive 120,000 diapers each year.
The Facts About Diapers:
- Diapers are expensive. An adequate supply of diapers costs more than $100 per month.
- There is no subsidy for diapers. Safety net programs like food stamps (now SNAP) and WIC don't cover diapers.
- Fewer diapers means more diaper rash. Parents who can't afford diapers change their babies only once a day.
- Diaper rash can lead to other problems like hepatitis and physical abuse.
- Cloth diapers are not always an option. Most laundromats won't wash them and most day cares won't allow them.