A Tale from the Central Valley

We receive a lot of emails from moms across the country, telling us about what they see in their own towns. This is an excerpt, published with permission, from a recent email written to us by a Central Valley mom. The Central Valley is known as America’s bread basket, and yet so many very hard working families are unable to provide the most basic of needs for their children. This is another way the Great Recession we are currently living in mirrors the Great Depression of the 1930’s. I wanted to share this with you all, because while the pundits and economist might argue whether or not we are still in a recession, this story exemplifies to me that we are still very much in it. The need still exists and will not be going away anytime soon.

… Cities in the Central Valley are hurting, and badly. Unemployment in this area is about 16%. Mom’s (I have not had to resort to this Thank GOD) leave their babies in the same diaper for hours on end so that they “SAVE” on diapers. I know this from the complaints about the inferior diapers (Parent’s Pride, Walmart) that the Pregnancy Help Center gives out. It is NOT that the diapers are bad, it’s Parents who have so little are keeping wet diapers on their babies bottoms too long. Much help is needed in the Stockton, Modesto, and Manteca area… someday I would hope that there is a place to help out Mom’s in EVERY city. We all need to help each other out in these horrible economic times! I am doing my part… Thank you ALL for everything you do.
— Struggling Central Valley mom of baby girl

Now more than ever, ordinary citizens need to come together to help one another. In small towns, and big cities alike. I don’t have the answer for how we can start to address diaper need in severely economically depressed areas like the Central Valley. I do think that bringing these stories to public awareness is a crucial step. A big dream of ours is to be able to do more in hard hit regions.  However this comes into being, it is my hope that you all will want to help us do just that.

The James Irvine Foundation published an excellent report on regional disparities in California. I suspect that individual giving in California mirrors that of foundation giving, in that philanthropic resources tend to stay within the same region (e.g., Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area metropolitan areas).

Iconic photo of Florence Owens Thompson by Dorothea Lange