This is a cross post from on California NOW’s blog. Thank you to the California Chapter of NOW for allowing us to speak to your readers!
Did you know that at some shelters, the #1 need is not food or clothing– but diapers? Did you know that diapers are not covered under public assistance programs, such as SNAP(food stamps) or WIC? As a result many mothers are forced to choose between affording diapers and other basic human needs: food, shelter, even medicine. It is heartbreaking to learn that many mothers are forced to keep their children in the same diaper for extended periods of time, which can lead to severe diaper rash and other major health problems such as staph and urinary tract infections.
In addition to the health risks associated with a lack of diapers, the impact of a low income family can mean the difference between attending school or being gainfully employed since the majority of childcare centers require parents to provide disposable diapers.
Enter Help a Mother Out (HAMO), a California based a grassroots advocacy and direct action campaign dedicated to improving the lives of mothers, children, and families in need one diaper at a time. HAMO started in spring, 2009 by two San Francisco Bay Area moms, Lisa Truong and Rachel Fudge, after learning about needy mothers having to choose between diapers or food. With an initial investment of just $100, and primarily utilizing online tools such as Facebook and Twitter, the group has collected more than 175,000 diapers and mainly distributed them through a variety of California agencies.
“Diapers are a must-have. You can’t skip them like you can breakfast,” explained one struggling mother in Oakland,California. “Getting donated diapers has helped me because I don’t have to have my child do without other things, such as food.”
Diapers are expensive — costing up to 20 to 40 cents each. What’s more, many low-income families don’t have access to discount stores, such as Target and Costco, and end up buying diapers at corner stores, where diapers are generally more expensive.
Take Action NOW:
- Donate to HAMO’s diaper program. With a donation of $35 or more, HAMO will send you a printable gift card for your Mother’s Day honoree. You can also donate in person at select California donation points.
- Download our free diaper drive toolkit to host a diaper drive at your school, workplace, or place of worship.
- Spread the word about this issue
By doing something as basic as donating a package of diapers, you are making a direct impact in the lives of women and children who would otherwise go without this basic need.
Remember, we need you to donate – every little bit helps!