The San Diego Food Bank & North County Food Bank Diaper Bank Program
In December 2016, the San Diego Food Bank and our North County Food Bank chapter started our new Diaper Bank Program. The Food Bank was inspired by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez who came to the Food Bank looking for a solution to a problem many of her low-income constituents face. The Assemblymember shared the story of a low-income single mother who was able to get off Calfresh (Food Stamps) by getting a job (step one in lifting her family out of poverty). She qualified for subsidized day care (step two to be able to work). But she discovered that she must provide several diapers a day for her child’s day care – or they would not accept her child. She struggled to afford the diapers, missed days of work and fell back into the poverty trap.
The Food Bank started the Diaper Bank Program to help solve an important piece of the poverty puzzle for young parents living in poverty by giving them the hand up they need to work for their families. Diapers are expensive — a month’s supply for one child can cost between $70 and $80, and diapers cannot be purchased with CalFresh benefits or WIC. As a result, parents try to make do without diapers by stretching their supply by leaving babies in dirty diapers longer or by reusing diapers.
The Impact of Diapers
A diaper is a small thing, but its impact is significant. Not having diapers means parents cannot leave their children with a childcare provider, most of whom require parents to provide disposable diapers for their children. So parents cannot go to work to earn money. Not having diapers means a longer time between changes, which can lead to severe diaper rash and other health problems. Not having diapers means that babies who cry because their diaper is dirty will cry that much longer, increasing stress for parents struggling to make ends meet. And not having diapers can adversely affect a mother’s feeling of self-worth, negatively impacting the mother-child bond.
The need is significant. A healthy child will require an average of 50 diaper changes a week. That’s approximately 2,600 diaper changes a year. And with more than 48% of the nation’s children under age three living below the poverty level or in low-income families, there are approximately 5.4 million children across America who could need assistance.
Our new Diaper Bank Program will help by distributing diapers to families in need through our existing food distribution programs and through our network of 400 nonprofit partners. The goal will be to provide much-needed diapers to low-income parents who reside in San Diego County so they can remain employed, provide for their families, and lift themselves out of poverty.
Please Donate Diapers at Our Miramar and San Marcos Warehouse Locations
The Food Bank can accept donations of unopened boxes of diapers from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at our Miramar warehouse located at 9850 Distribution Avenue, San Diego, CA 92121, or at our San Marcos warehouse, located at 680 Rancheros Drive #100, San Marcos, CA 92069. The Food Bank thanks our supporters for making a difference in the lives of those we serve.