JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The National Diaper Bank Network says one in three families experience diaper need, which is the lack of sufficient diaper supplies to keep their baby or toddler clean, dry and healthy.
One local woman saw this need and created a diaper bank for Northeast Florida to help families who need it the most.
“There have been studies done by Huggies, who’s a leading partner of the National Diaper Bank Network, that families who struggle to afford diapers will either reuse a dirty diaper or they’ll just stretch the diapers longer which of course could lead to serious health risks for the baby,” explained Crystal Parks, founder and board president of the Diaper Bank for Northeast Florida. “I knew immediately I wanted to help, being a mom of a toddler myself.”
Parks said she created the diaper bank because there was a need that wasn’t being met in the community.
“What most people aren’t aware of is there are no government assistance programs to help cover the cost of diapers,” Parks said. “So you can’t use diapers with WIC or SNAP benefits, which most people know as food stamps.”
Any parent knows, diapers aren’t cheap. A large box can cost anywhere from $25 to $30. Parks said on average a child can go through 2,900 diapers in a year costing families about $100 per month per child and this cost is even further strained by a pandemic.
“Between the months of October and December of 2020, we distributed over 13,000 diapers to help over 540 babies here in Jacksonville,” Parks said. “Starting in January, last week, we did a distribution, and we did double our number. We distributed over 8,000 diapers. So just being new to distributing diapers almost immediately at the beginning of this year, we’re already seeing an increase in need.”
The organization said the most requested diaper sizes are newborn, 4, 5, 6, and pull-ups in all sizes. But it accepts donations of diapers in all sizes and materials.
Typically, 3,000 to 4,000 diapers are given out during each distribution.