[Allegany County, NY] – Millions of American families struggle to afford a basic and essential need for their babies: diapers. According to numbers from the National Diaper Bank Network and Huggies, 36 percent of American families experience diaper insecurity. This leads many to bleach and reuse disposable diapers, keep diapers on their babies longer, or sometimes use non-diaper materials for their infants.
Of the families who experience diaper insecurity, 60 percent miss work or school because they didn’t have enough diapers for childcare or to get through the day. Diaper banks, which provide diapers to families for free, have sprung up across the country with the newest serving families in Allegany County.
“For a parent making minimum wage, anywhere from six to 14 percent of their income will go towards diapers — and most families who struggle with diaper security fall short by 20 diapers a month,” explains Robin Fuller, Ardent Solutions’ Early Childhood Development and Education Coalition Coordinator. “For parents of infants — who get changed every two to three hours, urinating anywhere between every one to three hours and pooping two to five times a day — this could amount to nearly a single day of not being able to have diapers for their children.”
Diaper need isn’t just inconvenient; it’s a matter of health: A lack of clean diapers can directly impact a child’s well-being. Nationally, two in five families say that when they’re short on diapers, they stretch their diaper use longer to avoid buying new ones. Babies left in soiled diapers for too long are at a higher risk for frequent or severe cases of diaper rash and urinary tract infections. Other parents have reported feeding their babies less milk or formula so they wouldn’t soil diapers, which can lead to child hunger and malnourishment.
“Based on present funding in NYS and many other states in the United States, diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps. In fact, there is no state or federal program that allocates funds specifically for diaper purchases,” continued Fuller. “An adequate supply of diapers could cost $100 per month, per child. For many low-income families who live in rural communities, the advantage of buying diapers in bulk is not an option due to the great distance to larger retail stores. This means many rely on convenience stores or other local outlets to buy diapers where the price is much higher.”
To combat diaper insecurity, Allegany County’s Early Childhood Development and Education Coalition are joining forces with Every Bottom Covered, a diaper bank in Buffalo, NY, to help families. A diaper bank is like a food bank where diapers are distributed not food. Those who qualify for another low-income service, such as TANF, WIC, Medicaid, or SNAP, automatically can enroll in Every Bottom Covered.
Every child under 3 who wears diapers in a qualifying household is eligible to receive fifty (50) diapers or twenty-five (25) pull-ups, as well as a package of wipes, each month. Parents can fill out an application at https://everybottomcovered.wufoo.com/forms/every-bottom-covered-client-application-allegany/ or call Robin Fuller at 585-648-6022 to complete the application by phone.
Families can choose one of four locations for diaper pick-up: Jones Memorial Hospital/UR Women’s and Children’s Clinic in Wellsville (patients only), Ardent Solutions in Wellsville, Cuba Cultural Center in Cuba, and ACCORD’s Access Center in Belmont. Each location will establish a monthly distribution date and time.
“The Allegany County Early Childhood Development and Education Coalition works to help families and children be kindergarten ready and beyond,” continued Fuller. “Parenting is already hard enough when you have the resources needed to take care of your baby and yourself. Not having clean diapers is a stressor and health risk no parent or child needs — and we’re proud to be partnering with Every Bottom Covered to help our local families.”