Many families in America (and around the world) struggle to afford the diapers that their children need. I am one of those families that understands the financial strain that comes with having our son. Diaper need is real when you have a child; though we would never in a million years wish that we did not have him even though it has caused us to struggle pay check to pay check once again. He is worth the struggle, but families need to know that their are organizations out there that can and will help them if they are in need. This post is both for the families who are struggling as well as for the families who are looking to help those families in need.
Indiana Diaper Need
Seeing as I am located in Indiana I wanted to share some important facts and statistics about the diaper need that is present in Indiana. I fall into the 23% of the state that is classified as low income. In our home we benefit from WIC and Medicaid; if we did not have these benefits I do not know how we would survive. In addition to that monetary assistance we also get assistance from Healthy Indiana Families. They are my life saver as a first time mom who is terrified that her son may have inherited her physical disability.
A Strong Foundation is Key
Babies need a strong foundation to survive and families often struggle with more than just diaper need. I cannot tell you how much we benefited from a Medicaid covered birth. If we had not had Medicaid we would not be able to afford any of our son’s needs due to the excess of bills that would have rolled in. Due to the fact that my primary insurance is Medicare I am unable to get great coverage for many things like giving birth, pregnancy visits, and birth control seeing as the coverage is meant for retired individuals who don’t deal with these things. Medicaid helped me to find a high risk OB as well as a great hospital where we were able to have the birth of our son.
As you can see from the percentages not everyone receives the same benefits. These can change from family to family and sometimes it cab feel frustrating when they deny you a service you feel is needed, but I know in the end I am grateful for everything that we do receive. In our home we do not qualify for SNAP or TANF, but many families do qualify for these benefits. TANF can be a lifesaver, but don’t let me run on about that just yet. I have found that WIC seems to be easier to get due to the fact that they will accept pregnant and nursing moms into their program as long as they have Medicaid; this also go for infants under 3 years of age.
TANF and Diapers
TANF is the only government assistance that can be used towards the purchase of diapers. Families that qualify for TANF are also generally using it to help with their utility bills as well. When you look at the numbers you will see just how little money is really given to families who are in need.
While this image states that on average a family spends $80 a month on diapers per child, I decided to do a little math of my own. In our home we average 6 diapers a day with a 9 month old child. If there are 30 days in the month that means that we will use a total of 180 diapers. If you purchase a mainstream brand like Huggies the cost of these diapers comes out to approximately $50 a month. The reality is that this is a high price for a product that is a necessity. When my son was a newborn to 4 months old he required 10 diapers a day which increases the price in diapers a month greatly. (I did not do this math as it took me FOREVER to the previously mentioned math.)
Diapers are Essential
Many people use the argument that diapers are not essential, but I want to explain why they are essential. Cloth diapers can help lower the over all cost of diapers, but 64% of women in Indiana go back to work and rely on child care for their children during the work day. Many of these facilities refuse to use/deal with cloth diapers and require that you provide your child with diapers while they are being cared for. This means that, that precious money that these women are bringing in has to be spent on diapers for their child. These families might also have to provide more diapers than they would normally use at home seeing as many child care offices regulate when they do diaper changes so that no child accidentally goes without a change when they might need it.
Helping Fill the Gap
Diaper Banks help fill the diaper need gap; there are 300+ in the United States, 10 of which are located in Indiana. These diaper banks are supported by the local community and are made possibly thanks to many donations. Their goal is to provide families in need with diapers so that they can afford to work from home as well as so that they can provide for their family a little bit easier. Right now Huggies No Baby Unhugged program is working with Meijer to help provide these diaper banks with donations. Until January 2, 2017 every package of Huggies that is purchased at Meijer a $1 will be donated to the National Diaper Bank Network. This means that you can help other families just by buying the diapers that you need for your children.
Do you know a family in need?
If you know someone in need find a local diaper bank and guide them to the help that is out there for them. If your local community does not already have a diaper bank then consider taking the time to find out how to start a local diaper bank. You never know you might have found the perfect calling. If you cannot find the help you need let me know in the comments and I will do all that I can to help you find the necessary resources.