San Diego Food Bank Launches Diaper Bank Program to Help Struggling Low-income Families

SDG&E Employee Diaper Drive Collects More than 25,000 Diapers as First Contribution to New Community Resource

Today, the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank was joined by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), to launch the Food Bank’s new Diaper Bank Program.

The Diaper Bank Program will provide donated diapers to low-income families with infants and toddlers at the Food Bank’s 170 monthly food distribution sites and through its network of 400 nonprofit partners in San Diego County.

“The Food Bank was inspired by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who came to the Food Bank looking for a solution to a problem many of her low-income constituents face,” said Food Bank CEO, James A. Floros. "The Assemblymember shared the story of a low-income single mother who was able to get off Calfresh by getting a job, which is the first step in lifting her family out of poverty. She qualified for subsidized day care, which is the second step, being able to work. But she discovered that she needed to provide a day’s supply of diapers to her child’s daycare, or they would not accept her child. She struggled to afford the diapers, missed days of work, and fell back into the poverty trap.”

A healthy child will require an average of 50 diaper changes a week. That’s approximately 2,600 diaper changes a year. And with more than 48 percent of the nation’s children under age three living below the poverty level or in low-income families, there are approximately 5.4 million children across America who could need assistance.

In an effort to build a supply of donated diapers for the  Diaper Bank Program, the Food Bank partnered with SDG&E to host an employee diaper drive, collecting more than 25,000 diapers as the first official donation to the new program.

“The Food Bank has a special place in my heart,” said Mitch Mitchell, SDG&E vice president of state governmental and external affairs. “Their work is about more than putting food on tables, it’s about creating comprehensive solutions to address difficult family situations, and the Diaper Bank Program is another example of this focus. I am proud the SDG&E family is playing a part to launch a program that will support some of San Diego's struggling families in their pursuit of a safe and stable home environment."

Sharp Healthcare, Cox Communications, AMR San Diego and the Thursday Club also contributed to the fundraising effort spearheaded by SDG&E, helping collect additional donations and increasing awareness of diaper need in San Diego.

 

The Food Bank started the Diaper Bank Program to remove a barrier preventing parents who are stuck in the poverty trap from going to work. Diapers are costly for a low-income family, costing between $70 and $80 per month for a single child, and they cannot be purchased with CalFresh benefits or WIC. As a result, parents try to make do without diapers, stretching their supply by leaving babies in dirty diapers longer or by reusing diapers.

“Diapers are expensive and they are not optional. Babies can get rashes and infections if they don’t get changed often enough, and parents can’t work if they don’t have enough diapers to leave at daycare. It’s heartbreaking to know that parents in our community are struggling with this need every day, and when diapers cost more than $100 per month, we know the need is real,” said Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher

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The lack of diapers can perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Not having diapers means parents cannot leave their children with a childcare provider—most of whom require parents to provide a daily supply of disposable diapers for their children—so parents cannot go to work to earn money. Not having diapers means longer times between changes, which can lead to severe diaper rash and other health problems. Not having diapers means that babies who cry because their diaper is dirty will cry that much longer, increasing stress for parents struggling to make ends meet.

Food Bank CEO, James Floros added, “The goal of the Food Bank’s new Diaper Bank Program is to provide much needed diapers to low-income parents who reside in San Diego County, so they can remain employed, provide for their families, and lift themselves out of poverty.”