San Francisco 1st City to Offer Public Assistance for Diapers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2015

Lisa Truong, Founder & Executive Director, Help a Mother Out


San Francisco Diaper Bank to assist CalWORKs families with young children.

San Francisco, California: San Francisco recently became the first in the nation to offer public assistance for diapers. Help a Mother Out was recently awarded a $1.9 million multi-year grant to establish and operate the San Francisco Diaper Bank (SFDB), serving the city’s CalWORKs families with young children. The SFDB will distribute diapers through the city’s network of family resource centers, which provide diverse support services to families in need. Currently in pilot phase, the SFDB will fully launch on November 1st, making free diapers available to an estimated 1,300 San Francisco families each month.

San Francisco’s program is notable because federal safety net supports, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programs (SNAP), do not provide diapers to low-income parents. According to research, diaper need is related to maternal depression and children’s health.

In 2014, the annual amount of income considered necessary for a family to adequately meet its minimal needs, termed the “Self Sufficiency Standard”, was $91,964 for a single parent with two young children living in San Francisco. Depending on eligibility factors, a family of three who qualifies for CalWORKs receives a maximum annual benefit of approximately $13,788 (including food stamps). A healthy supply of diapers can cost up to 28 percent a CalWORKs parent’s monthly income.

Starting November 1st CalWORKs families with children under age three will be eligible to receive free diapers. Families will be contacted by the San Francisco Human Services Agency, which administers CalWORKs, if they are eligible.

“The San Francisco Diaper Bank will significantly improve the well-being of CalWORKs families. We know families often take desperate measures in order to diaper their babies,” said Lisa Truong, Executive Director and Founder of Help a Mother Out. “This is an innovative public policy measure and we applaud the city for its investment and partnership in our organization’s mission,” said Truong.

“We are excited about this opportunity to do something that has never been done before in the nation and to take a small step in reducing the financial stress of the city’s most vulnerable families,” said Dan Kelly, Director of Planning at the San Francisco Human Services Agency.

About Help a Mother Out: Established in 2009, Help a Mother Out ( works to improve baby and family well being by increasing access to diapers for families in need. Help a Mother Out distributes diapers through a network of social service partners. Help a Mother Out is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, a 501(c)3 non profit organization.