One in three mothers in the United States cannot afford diapers for their babies. The number is one in five for South Carolina, according to Kids Count South Carolina.
“It’s not covered by any social assistance programs, either statewide or federal, that becomes one of the main big things that people need, or families that are in hardship or crisis, they need,” said Ayanna White, Executive Director of Power in Changing, one of several diaper banks in South Carolina.
The Every Little Bottom study conducted by Huggies in 2010 found insufficient diapers correlated to incidents of abuse, neglect and the mental and physical health of babies.
“A baby that stays in a prolonged diaper can have severe diaper rash, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, things like that,” White said. “Which will, obviously, prolong the child crying, being uncomfortable, trips to the doctor, and that all has been correlated to not having a sufficient supply of diapers.”
White said applicants for the diaper program often also need wipes, baby clothing, bottles, formula and products not provided for through SNAP or WIC.
“It’s a basic need that nobody really talks about because it is a diaper,” she said. “But changing a diaper regularly is very important for the health and well-being for children under 3.”
Diaper banks provide free items to families in need. Power in Changing also offers programs in the Midlands such as a mother’s support group called Family Empowerment, community baby showers and baby boxes. Click here for more information.
The Diaper Bank of the Carolinas serves the state of South Carolina. Bundles of Joy serves the Lowcountry. All three groups are part of the national diaper bank network.
“We’re not just diapers but we try to impact every facet that we can in the life of a family or of a baby and toddler, especially if their family is afflicted with any type of hardship,” White said.
Organizations welcome donations of money or diapers, volunteers, or people willing to host a diaper drive.
“People are starting to understand the importance of this epidemic because one in three women face diaper need,” White said.
Power in Changing is hosting a community baby shower Sunday, August 19 at Wine & Design of Columbia, 141 Pelham Drive, Suite G, Columbia from 2 – 5 p.m. For more information or to donate call 803-281-0013.