How we began the CLDA Diaper Bank.
It was a cold winter day and my sister, and I had consented to babysit my newest grandchild. When there’s shopping and deals to be had, my sister is always ready! Aunt Dora -Dee, Nana and QXD were out for a day of shopping and a good time. As we were enjoying all the fantastic clothing, toys, learning items and bargains in Babies ‘R’ Us, it was that time again “Diaper Change Time!”
Dora and I walked into the Women’s Restroom and found a changing table and some comfortable chairs. Swe needed a break and time to plan our next shopping move. As we went into the restroom to dispose of his diaper, we noticed a young woman rinsing out an insert from a disposable diaper and her baby was resting in the sink. Horrified at the sight of this, Dora asked the young mother, “Baby, what are you doing, that’s not sanitary. Don’t you have another diaper to change your baby.” The woman shot back, “No, I don’t, I won’t have my check until Wednesday and this will just have to do.” Well, I knew what was coming next. Dora said to “Wait, I’ll be back, and what size is he?” I said, “Let me pull some paper towels and you can cover the baby in them until she returns.” The mother told Dora the size and she was off…………………….
Dora returned about 20 minutes later with a case of diapers for the baby. The mother said, “I can’t pay you for these diapers. You shouldn’t have bought them.” We both answered, “We both are happy we were able to help you. Plan your purchases better so you won’t get stuck. Take care of yourself and your little one and have a great rest of the day.”
When we arrived home and got our little man back to sleep, we fired up the laptop and began searching for any information about helping families find diaper assistance. We didn’t find one in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, so we just purchased 1 or 2 packs of different sizes just I case we had the same experience again. What we didn’t know at the time was that was out of control need for diapers in the city and I many cities across the country.
It wasn’t until the Fall of 2011, I learned of a small diaper bank while attending a meeting for MLK Day for 2012. One of the participants said she had just started a diaper bank in Hatboro, PA. So, after the meeting we talked and soon the organization I was volunteering with become a community partner and began distributing diapers to families, daycare agencies, churches, and children’s programs in the city.
We began to grow began storing diapers in my home so within 6 months my husband (a firefighter and EMT with the City of Philadelphia) said, “NO MORE DIAPERS IN THE HOUSE. It’s a fire hazard.” (smile) We knew he was right but where would we store them. Luckily, we had just moved into an incubator for our parent organization and there was space for storage. And the word was out! We were busy with this new program but learned of a national organization that was raising awareness of ‘diaper need’, and we joined in 2014. The CLDA Diaper Bank has come a long way in continuing to help individuals and families keep their babies, toddlers, and people with incontinence problems with an emergency supply of clean, dry diapers for use in childcare settings, pre-school and for those with toileting issues. We have successfully distributed in a little over ten years approximately 785,000 diapers and many thousands of diapering supplies to families and community partners.
‘We’re in it, to WIN It!’ Reducing and hopefully eliminating diaper need for our families.