Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank

“The Blessing is in the Diaper”

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My family has needed diapers for 5 of the past 6 1/2 years, and I’m excited to share that, with a third child to arrive this summer, the total will likely end up being over 8 years worth of diapers in a 10 year period when all is said and done. While this is something we can afford, we are also very fortunate in that our boys’ grandparents have gladly cover a lot of that expense so far.

But what happens when you can’t afford all those diapers?  What happens when the expense that I’ve seen estimated at as high as $1,500 per year for diapers and wipes is more than you can bear?  There are not government programs out there for this most basic of needs.  Sadly, many parents end up leaving their babies in dirty diapers for far too long.  Some even try to clean, dry, and reuse diapers that are meant to be disposable in order to reduce the expense that comes from using additional diapers.

I’m sure it’s not surprising to consider that a baby wearing a dirty diaper is much more likely to experience discomfort that can lead to skin irritation and lots of crying.  It’s a really difficult position for a parent to be in.  I speak from experience when I say that a baby who is difficult to console can make a parent feel pretty helpless.

By many accounts, this has been an under-reported need for a while.  Parents can be embarrassed to say that they aren’t able to meet the most basic needs of their children.  The children are obviously far to young to advocate for themselves, beyond their cries.  Fortunately for families in our area who find themselves stuck in this sort of a situation, we have the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank.

The Western PA Diaper Bank exists for two main purposes and are basically accomplished through on primary action (or series of actions).  On a macro scale, the diaper bank exists to raise awareness of the diaper shortage that many low-income people experience and advocate for their help.  The topic received some press last year when President Obama made it a part of his Mother’s Day address.  On a more micro, personal scale, the diaper bank works to do the dirty work of collecting and distributing diapers to local organizations that have direct contact with needy family in and around Pittsburgh.  Each purpose works to accomplish their vision of ensuring that every child has enough diapers to remain clean, healthy, and dry.  And each purpose is primarily addressed through diaper drives, both small and large.

This nonprofit organization was established here in 2012 and is affiliated with the National Diaper Bank Network.  They are entirely volunteer-run and a large number of the diapers distributed come from diaper drives conducted by local schools, churches, and individuals.  Once collected, the diapers are distributed through the Diaper Bank’s 32 local partner agencies.

In the spirit of joining the work of organizations that we are featuring here on Better the Burgh, I’d like to announce that we are conducting a diaper drive over the next two weeks. Let’s work together to collect as many diapers as we can for this worthwhile organization.  I’ll plan on delivering them on March 31st.  Please reach out to me here, or through the Facebook page if you are interested in donating.  I’ll either give you my address if you’d like to drop them off or try to coordinate a time and location where I could come pick them up from you.

I’ve pulled the below video from the National Diaper Bank network’s Youtube page.  It was used for a specific organization’s drive but it is absolutely applicable to to what I’m sharing here.  Please check it out.

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