Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Diaper drive aimed to help families out

 


One of the most sought after items for a mother with a newborn is diapers.

For the first few weeks of an infants’ life they will go through about 12 diapers a day. However, diapers can be expensive and those living on a tight budget cannot always afford to buy them.

Thanks to National Diaper Awareness Week, which is Sept. 28-Oct. 4, communities across the country will collect diapers for those who need them.

“We’re highlighting that week. This is the first time we’ve approached both cities. It’s never been done,” Shelley Richno, community impact coordinator for United Way of Southwest Wyoming, said. “We are collecting throughout Sweetwater County.”

Richno said they have collected diapers before in 2013 and 2014, but never on this scale. The United Way of Southwest Wyoming belongs to the National Diaper Bank Network; and is the only one in Wyoming that does. This network helped set up Sweetwater County’s diaper bank.

Richno said she knows they are small in size when compared to other cities the network helps out, but they still make United Way’s effort feel important.

According to the network’s website nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org, 5.3 million children in the United States who are age 3 or younger live in poor or low-income families. One in every three American families have reported experiencing a diaper need.

Diapers are just not covered by food stamps or under the Women, Infants and Children program, Richno said.

Some residents are ashamed of needing someone to give them diapers, but Richno said they should not feel that way.

“Everybody needs help sometimes,” Richno said. “Everybody needs a hand and we want to be able to give them that hand.”

The average cost for disposable diapers per month, per baby is about $70 to $80. The problem is coming when residents cannot afford to buy diapers decide to leave their baby in a soiled diaper for a longer period of time. Along with diaper rashes, this action can pose health risks to the child.

“What we are seeing is children are spending longer times in soiled diapers so they can get through the month,” Richno said. “If you are putting your kids in childcare you need diapers.”

According to the network’s website, most childcare facilities will not accept a child who is in cloth diapers.

“Nobody thinks about diapers,” she said. “We think about helping them with food, but diapers are just as important.”

Knowing this need, United Way decided to facilitate a diaper drive. Richno said they have local collection spots in Green River and Rock Springs. In Green River, residents can drop them off at the Sweetwater County Library, Golden Hour Senior Center or the Green River Chamber of Commerce. In Rock Springs, the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce is collecting them for United Way during the designated week, while the Rock Springs National Bank is collecting diapers all the way through October.

“They will all come here; and then they will be distributed,” Richno said.

Donated diapers can be dropped off at these locations; and then United Way representatives will pick them up and store them for the Sweetwater County Food Banks. Richno said they will then make sure the food banks get the diapers they need.

Before a resident can receive free diapers they must stop at the food bank and fill out a form. This form ask for information on income range, race and the size of diapers they need. Then, the resident can pick up a package of diapers and wipes twice a month at the food bank.

Last year, 29,890 diapers were given to Sweetwater babies who needed them.

“That’s a lot of diapers, she said.

As for restocking the diapers at the food bank, Richno said food bank employees usually stop by the United Way office to let them know what diapers they need.

“My goal is to get too many,” Richno said.

Richno said she looks forward to the day when food bank employees arrive and say they do not need anymore diapers, but that may not happen anytime soon.

 

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