Fact: There are no public assistance programs in the United States that provide or subsidize diapers for low income families.
Fact: It can cost as much as 100$ or more a month to diaper a baby adequately with disposable diapers.
Fact: Some families cannot take their children to daycare when funds are low because they don’t have enough diapers to provide.
Fact: Some families go longer between changes to stretch their diapers and their money. Fewer have also reused disposable diapers by drying them out or scraping out the solid waste.
Diapers are a necessity for the majority of parents in the modern world. Aid agencies can often help families in need with food, clothing, and housing but diapers aren’t part of the package. Larger cities do have diaper banks and there are many rescue missions and food banks that do what they can but what about the families without access to these services?
Over the years a few foundations have cropped up to provide or lend cloth diapers to qualified families. Many are locally based and only serve the families around them, and others are national.
This is just a look at a few organizations I am aware of. Updated December 2014 to remove inactive listings and add more.Giving Diapers, Giving Hope– Nationwide
GDGH began as a local diaper bank for Gloucester, MA and now offers free cloth diapers for low income families to borrow. Families do have to pay the shipping cost. Families apply through their online application and if approved, will be sent diapers as closely matching the applicants preferences as possible. They rely solely on donations so they can’t always fulfill wishes but they do try. If you don’t have a place to donate your used diapers locally and would like to pay it forward, there is more information about donating cloth diapers on their website. To date as of Dece. 2014 GDGH has supplied over 800 families cloth diapers! Donations to GDGH are tax deductible and they are a 501(c)(3).
Website: www.givingdiapersgivinghope.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/givingdiapersgivinghopefoundation Twitter: @GivingDiapers
Cloth for Every Bum- 6 locations
Operating with 6 locations in Georgia, Texas, and Michigan Cloth for Everybum is a 6 month lending program and mentor their recipients on how to use and care for the diapers. Applicants have to live within 2 hours of the location and must not already own cloth diapers. They send out set sets 18 prefolds, 2 inserts, 3 covers, 4 pocket diapers, 12 handmade wipes, 1 wetbag, 1 salve sample, and 1 detergent sample. Apply through their website.
Jillian’s Drawers Diaper Bank– Ithaca NY
Operated by the cloth diaper store Jillian’s Drawers, this diaper bank relies on local donations and provides low income families with cloth diapers. From the little information available it seems you can walk into the store with your WIC card and leave with a stash of 18 cloth diapers. This is for local families in Central New York.
Help a Mother Out– Various Chapters in the US
“Help A Mother Out (HAMO for short) was formed in the spring of 2009 in reaction to media reports about the economic crisis’s effect on young children, families, and mothers, in particular the growing numbers of homeless children and families in California. Reaching out to San Francisco Bay Area shelters, co-founders Lisa Truong and Rachel Fudge learned that the number-one need was not baby blankets, clothing, or even food but diapers—which are not covered under social-safety net programs like WIC or food stamps. So they decided to organize a Mother’s Day diapers-and-wipes donation drive to benefit a dozen agencies serving low-income and homeless families throughout California.” Read more on their website
HAMO primarily provides disposable diapers but they do accept cloth diaper donations and prefer Econobum kits. When applicable and in stock they can and will provide them to families who will use them.
Cotton Babies: Share the Love- Various locations nationwide
Cotton Babies, makers of popular cloth diaper brands bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum, have teamed up with various hosts across the country to provide cloth diapers to families in need through the “Share the Love” program. A full list of locations can be found on their website but a few examples are Birmingham, Nashville, Toledo, St. Louis, Wichita, W. Palm Beach, and Aurora CO. To apply you will need to contact the host listed on their website for your city.
Cloth for a Cause helps family in Canada receive cloth diapers. They have a dozen chapters across Canada and help the local families or can ship diapers if the family will pay the shipping costs. You can find a chapter list here: Find a Chapter. Applications are found on the Apply page.
Website: ClothforaCause.ca Facebook: Facebook.com/ClothforaCause Twitter: Twitter.com/ClothforaCause
Thanks to these and the other similar organizations, a respectable number of babies are in cloth diapers and a weight has been lifted off of their parents’ shoulders. Running a diaper bank is no easy task so these women should be applauded for their volunteer work.
All diaper banks aren’t listed on this page above but many banks are on this interactive and searchable map! If you are a cloth diaper bank you can add yourself to the map- no need to contact me to be added.