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Diapers are a critical part of every baby’s life, but they come with a high cost

by | May 11, 2021 | Blog

The annual Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive is underway and the response to helping families continues to be amazing. In 2020, the Calgary Food Bank was able to distribute over 270,400 diapers to 10,500 families because of Calgary’s generosity.

But why do we even collect diapers?

The cost of diapers alone can become overwhelming to a family already struggling to make ends meet. The cascading effect of diaper insecurity – the challenge to provide the necessities like diapers – is often a hidden consequence of low wages and was evident even before the pandemic. Some families will cut back on essentials, like food, utilities, medicine, and childcare in order to afford enough diapers for their children.

Most are working hard at two jobs or long hours and they rely on childcare. However, providers require a full day or week’s supply of diapers in order for parents to drop off their child. Diapers can consume a huge portion a low-income family’s budget and this adds significant stress and tension to the already difficult task of juggling parenting and working.

Diapers are not a luxury

Diaper insecurity negatively impacts a families’ health, mental well-being and economic stability. Research from the Yale School of Medicine found that diaper need correlates strongly with parental depression, even to a greater degree than food insecurity. For example, on occasion and out of pure desperate necessity, parents may delay changing their baby’s diaper as a way of making their supply last a little longer. This is distressing to a parent when putting their children at risk of rash, discomfort or even infection.

Recognizing the complex issue of diaper insecurity, we work diligently to ease a families’ stress by including basic necessities for their children while working to help address the root causes of their food insecurity. 11% of the Emergency Food Hampers distributed last year contained a week’s worth of diapers, wipes, baby food and formula. We literally take stress off the table when we can help reduce the financial burden that has created a need to reach out.

11% of the Emergency Food Hampers distributed
contain diapers, wipe, baby food and formula.

Now because we are mandated to provide emergency food support, we rely on donations of diapers and designated funds to fill baby hampers. That is a long answer to the question, “why collect diapers” but an important one that explains why the youngest and most vulnerable in our community are taken care of.

How can you help?

Tag us @CalgaryFoodBank in your social media posts and let friends and family know how easy it is to donate to help babies and families needing diapers.

Designate your donation to the purchase of diapers.

Donate opened or unopened packages of diapers at the Calgary Food Bank or one of the Alberta Health Service Centres, see the website for locations.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, the Calgary Food Bank acknowledges that we live, work and play on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.

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