Over the past two months, Women United of Southwest Alabama, the women’s leadership initiative of United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA) collected diaper donations to advance the health and economic stability for families in our area. The drive collected approximately 15,000 diapers distributed to five United Way partners: Dumas Wesley Community Center, Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast, Gulf Regional Early Childhood Services, Penelope House, and the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama.
As unemployment and increasing costs of basic needs further strain the finances of low-income families, one in three families in Southwest Alabama struggle to provide diapers for their babies. An adequate supply of diapers (approximately 200 diapers each month) can cost in excess of $100 a month or more if they are bought in small packages at corner stores.
“Many do not know that diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps or WIC vouchers and there is no direct government assistance that provides diapers to families in need,” said Women United Committee Chair Jenny Hunt. “Furthermore, many nonprofits are unable to maintain an adequate supply of diapers due to increasing demand and most coin-operated laundromats do not allow customers to wash cloth diapers for health and sanitary reasons. As a result, babies are left in wet diapers for many hours causing illness and discomfort and preventing playing, learning, and growing.”
Without enough diapers, parents often cannot leave their children with a child care provider and, thus, cannot attend work or school. In response to this growing need, the women membership of Women United decided to host a diaper drive to benefit United Way partner agencies serving individuals and families in need of diapers.
“I am thrilled at the community’s response to this drive,” said UWSWA President & CEO Clifford Grimes. “We hope to continue and grow this drive in the future to meet the needs of every United Way partner who services families in need of diapers. By providing the resource of diapers, these families can continue focusing on fulfilling all of their basic needs and, in turn, move closer to long-term financial stability.”
United Way would like to thank the several local businesses and their employees who participated in the drive by collecting diapers, baby wipes, and dollar donations used to purchase diapers.