Southern California

Poverty Goes Hand in Hand with Stress for the Whole Family

California is upping its game to fight childhood trauma and toxic stress. Dr. Nadine Harris Burke, our first Surgeon General recently appointed by Gov. Newsom says, “Exposure to early adversity dramatically affects the developing brains and bodies of children.”

At Help a Mother Out, we know that access to diapers is a small thing that greatly alleviates a mother’s stress. Children are especially sensitive to stress because their brains and bodies are just developing.

Dr. Robert Block, Former President of American Academy of Pediatrics says, “Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today.”

Research traces adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, to the later onset of physical and mental illness. Poverty and exposure to adversity can lead to a greatly increased chance of childhood trauma.

Learn more about the new efforts in the movement to combat ACEs in this article from California Healthline: California Looks To Lead Nation In Unraveling Childhood Trauma

And, see Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’ impassioned TED Talk below.

Thank you for helping us increase access to diapers for families in need. The impact of this small thing can be great.

Who We Serve

Since inception we’ve distributed diapers to a number of organizations in California and elsewhere in the U.S.  Between January, 2011 and January, 2012 we served families through the following agencies. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this happen! Special thanks go to our friends at Huggies Every Little Bottom and St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County. 

Southern California

  • Ascencia (LA County)
  • Building a Generation (Inland Empire)
  • LA Diaper Drive (LA County)
  • Salvation Army,East Los Angeles Community Center (LA County)
  • Bayside Community Center (San Diego County)

Northern California

Alameda & Contra Costa Counties

  • Brighter Beginnings
  • Center for the Vulnerable Child (Children’s Hospital of Oakland)
  • Oakland Early Head Start
  • St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County (West Oakland Women’s Center)
  • Operation Shower
  • Prenatal Care Guidance (PCG), a program of the Contra Costa Public Health Dept.
  • Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center (WDDC)

Monterey County

  • Monterey County Association of Families Caring for Children

San Francisco County

  • Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP)
  • Bayview Mission
  • APA Family Support Services (APA)

San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties

  • Baby Basics of the Peninsula
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford (Social Services)
  • Star Vista (formerly YFES)
  • Creation Home Ministries
  • West Valley Community Services
  • City Team Ministries, San Jose
  • EHC Lifebuilders

SoCal: #BlogHer11 Virtual Diaper Drive #hamo

This coming week some of the team will be at BlogHer ’11.

In case you haven’t heard, we’re hosting a service project to coincide with the conference, in hopes of raising much needed diaper funds we’d like to raise to benefit our Southern California families. Specifically, we have three agencies located in San Diego, Inland Empire, and east Los Angeles, who are currently on the waiting list to receive diapers.

Whether you are attending the conference or not, you can help us make a difference.

Bonus: We’re giving away an iPad, generously donated by our friends at Momversation, to one lucky online donor. And as of this writing, your chances look really good to win!

How you can help:

Spread the word about our virtual diaper drive. Official rules and more good stuff can be found via our event page.

Your online gift of $10 or more enters you to our iPad giveaway contest. Go ahead, click the BLUE button and help a mother out!

A Date With Diapers

On May 1, the Los Angeles chapter of Help a Mother Out threw a Date Night Cocktail Party in Encino, CA.  Hosted by myself,  Julia from Safety Graphic Fun and LA Metblogs, and Tania from Pure Natural Diva who also opened up her home to us, the evening featured wine and snacks by Fresh and Easy, a selection of Tillamook cheeses, and healthy iced teas and soft drinks from Steaz.

My first take-home message from this event is that we collected 3,284 diapers and 1,000 wipes.  The men and women of our community are incredibly generous, showing that even if they don’t have children, they understand how horrible it can be to be a baby without diapers.  I’m pleased to have given people the opportunity to have a great night out while also contributing to a good cause.

Another lesson learned – this was the easiest party I ever put together.  I’m so glad I was healthy enough to attend!  I used Event Brite to manage invitations and RSVP’s and the guest list.  I highly recommend having co-hosts and throwing your next party at someone else’s house.  Having two other well-connected women involved meant three times the promotion, and a division of hosting duties throughout the evening.  Each of us was free to work the room.

The pre-packaged foods from Fresh & Easy were simple to plate and present, and the cheese – well, all we did was slice some cheese and put it out on platters with assorted accompaniments.  Keeping to the wine theme meant a streamlined bar.  Tania is all about conservation and recycling, so we didn’t use any paper products.  To that end, she had hired someone to help clear plates and glasses and keep freshly washed ones coming.

Yvonne and Todd Condes, Sarah Auerswald, and Stacy Surabian - photo by Laura Clark

...and there's Laura Clark, right, with Florinda Pendley-Vasquez

The guests were able to mix and mingle and talk with each other without shouting because the groovy music, provided by DJ Brian Klotz, was kept at a level that entertained without drowning out all other sound.  For additional entertainment, we had a few hours in the Game Truck, where party-goers bowled, raced, or rocked out with Rock Band.

The turnout was fantastic, with few no-shows.  I was happy to see many of my fellow Los Angeles Moms bloggers in attendance, lots of friends, and lots of new and interesting people, too.  The fact that we kept the guest list to 50 or under (not age, number) meant that people were able to have real conversations.  The last guest didn’t leave until close to 11:30 PM.  It all goes to show you that these Valley moms and their friends can still party, yo.

But we party with a purpose.

Julia, Kim, and Tania - photo by Sarah Auerswald

Thank you!

Mother’s Day Call To Action

Can you imagine not having enough diapers for your baby?  Did you know that diapers are not covered under safety net programs like food stamps or WIC? For many families in crisis this can mean being forced to choose between affording other basic human needs — shelter, food, medicine, or diapers. Until we started Help A Mother Out, we didn’t know any of this. We’re working to help improve the lives of mothers, children, and families, one diaper at a time. Won’t you join us?

This year Mother’s Day is on May 9th. We’ll be celebrating the entire month of May both by raising diapers and awareness of this basic human need.

Your Call To Action:

ATTEND one of our sponsored events (check back frequently as we add more cities to this roster).


Outside California:

COLLECT diapers* at your school, work, community group, or place of worship.


PASS IT ON: Talk about this issue with others. No mother should have to choose between food or diapers for her baby.

*Be sure to report back to us on your May diaper collection efforts…we want to hear about it! Post a comment HERE or email us info at

Swell magenta HAMO Mother’s Day, 2010 campaign button designed by Kate at Jet Kat Design. Thanks Kate!

Click here for press release (4/20/10)

Giving Back Spotlight: Whitney of

During our Give Cheeks a Chance! September campaign, local Bay Area blogger, Whitney of pledged to raise 1000 diapers for our partner agency, WDDC. She ended up raising 2500 diapers!  We are eternally grateful to Whitney, for being an early supporter of our campaign, and for turning rhetoric into action!

This is a cross post from

At the beginning of September, I set out to rally my peeps for a diaper drive. I was inspired by Help A Mother Out and figured that between my children’s two schools, my family, neighbors, and friends, I would be able to generate a 1000-diaper donation for my nearby women’s drop-in center. They serve a population of women who don’t always have the money for diapers they need and whose public assistance funds are not always applicable for diapers.

Now for my bragging
Thanks my neighbors and friends, the box I placed outside my side door got filled many times over with diapers. When I first counted and realized I was at 600, I began to worry that 1000 was a lofty goal. I sent a status update email to motivate my network. I cheered myself on publicly via Facebook. As my self-assigned deadline approached, the diapers appeared at a faster pace. I was excited.

I attended a little gathering of bloggers at an E.L.F. make-up party and asked those ladies to donate. Some gave diapers and some gave me cash. (Turns out that women who have never themselves shopped for diapers are overwhelmed by the thought of choosing a size and brand.) The cash was worth even more than the face value as my husband took it to CVS and used some heavy-weight coupons and his clever math strategery to maximize the number of diapers he brought home.

Photo from

I was proud. I had about 1500 diapers spread all over the floor in my home office. I took them to the Women’s Drop-In Center and spent the rest of the day feeling like a powerful superhero.

And then. More.

My friend Kimberley, a recipient of my email call to action, passed the word about my drive to her associates at Safeway, our regional grocery chain. The marketing person in charge of their house brand, Mom to Mom, decided she would match my drive with a generous donation of 1000 diapers from Safeway. I picked them up at my local store and headed back to the Women’s Drop-In center. I hope that the Mom to Mom team spent the rest of their day feeling like superheroes.

Photo from

Frequently Asked Question: What about cloth?
When I initially posted about this and also asked my neighbors for donations, many asked why these folks do not use cloth diapers. Yes, for those of us who have a predictable place to hang our diaper bags each night, cloth diapers may be a money-saving choice. Imagine you are in transition, however. Different friends and shelters are serving as your bed each night. Or perhaps your apartment does not have a laundry facility on site, and laundromats do not allow diaper washing for sanitary reasons. For those folks and for the truly homeless, carting around soiled diapers until laundry becomes available is simply not practical.

Did anyone else take my challenge and become a diaper superhero? What are you waiting for?