Breaking
Wed. May 22nd, 2024

The White House, Washington

Every day, I walk into work and see the faces of teenage mothers who are trying their hardest to be good parents.

I help run a youth homeless shelter for an organization called Covenant House, and it’s my job to make life a little easier for the young mothers that we welcome. But week after week, there’s a major problem that stands in our way: diapers.

Diapers are basic necessities for these young women and their children, just like food and housing. We work to provide diapers to them as much as we can. But right now, diapers are a big expense: We pay roughly 33 cents per diaper and wait one week per shipment. When we run out, we need to make a run to the corner store, where we end up paying premium prices.

This isn’t just our problem. Studies show nearly one in three families struggle to afford diapers for their babies.

Policy experts say that low-income families spend twice as much on diapers every year compared to some wealthier families. That’s because low-income families don’t have internet access or credit cards to order diapers in bulk online, or often don’t have transportation to buy in bulk at a big box store.

When families can’t afford a healthy number of diapers for their babies, they’re faced with the choice between buying diapers and paying for food, rent, or utilities like heat. That’s a choice that no family should have to make.

Today, the White House is highlighting a new initiative by private and non-profit entities to help fix this problem and make diapers more affordable for all. Learn more about how it will help millions of families in need.

The initiative has three key parts:

First, the private sector and the non-profit community have teamed up to provide a more affordable way to manufacture and distribute diapers to non-profit organizations. This means that organizations like mine can pay less than half the cost of what we normally pay for diapers, and get them faster with free two-day shipping.

Second, any 501(c)(3) non-profit can sign up to participate in the Community Diaper Program and begin offering these more affordable diapers to families in their communities. The National Diaper Bank Network estimates that their 280 diaper banks will be able to order more than 14 million diapers this year thanks to this program.

Third, even more private sector organizations are helping address the problem through diaper donation campaigns to benefit families in need.

I cannot say how much seemingly small efforts like these can impact organizations like mine. When we have cheaper, more reliable access to diapers, we can invest any savings into job training programs to help these young mothers find full-time jobs to support their families.

But more important than saving money, this initiative shows these women that people care about them. They are working so hard to change their lives and provide their children with a good future, and this is the kind of support that they’ll remember for a lifetime.

Take a minute to find out what’s being done to help families get the diapers they need at wh.gov/DiaperGap.

 

Thanks so much for listening,

 

Renata

 

Renata Alexis

Covenant House

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