How to Find Affordable Diapers and Close the #DiaperGap in L.A. County

The Washington Post tells the story of one South L.A. mom and her struggle to find affordable diapers:

The Walmart within walking distance of Nuri Mora’s home in South Central Los Angeles, where a 74-count box of diapers sold for $28, closed in January. So now she boards a bus. It runs only every half-hour, and catching it means trailing a toddler, a stroller and an 8-year-old. It also means adding bus fare to the cost of the diapers — which are more expensive at other stores anyway.

Cheap diapers are hard to come by for the families that have the least to spend on them. Mora, 27, scans coupons and travels for bargains. She tells her children “no” at the grocery store, when she has to choose between the kiwis they want and the diapers 2-year-old Nathan needs. Then, sometimes, when she finds a good deal, it comes in the wrong sizes.

“Sometimes you have to decide between ‘Okay, this box has 120 diapers, and this is the size that he doesn’t use. But if I get the size that he’s using, it’s just 70 diapers, and I have 50 diapers more. So what should I do?’ ” she says, knowing that a too-small size might chafe her son’s skin. “You just have to make things happen.”

diapers-costs-by-income-level-graph

One in three families in the U.S. struggles to maintain a sufficient supply of diapers to keep their baby clean, dry, and healthy. And low-income families often have to pay more for diapers than those in the middle class. As a percentage of income, it’s especially lopsided. A recent White House blog post sums up the problem: “Low-income families spend an average of $936 per child on diapers every year — double what some higher-income families pay. That can add up to 14 percent of their income, even before covering other essentials like rent, food, heat, and water.”

And diapers are not covered by federal assistance programs such as WIC, SNAP, or Medicaid.

Some are calling for policy changes in Congress, but a baby with a dirty diaper can’t wait. So we’ve compiled a list of organizations and services that can help right now. (Did we miss one? Share it in a comment at the bottom.)

Assistance With Diapers for Low-Income Families

Here are some Southern California resources that offer free or subsidized diapers to low-income families. We found many of these through 211LA.org, One Degree, and NationalDiaperBankNetwork.org, all of which allow you to search by ZIP code. Some local food pantries and churches also sometimes have diapers available to those in need. For those interested in cloth diapers, check out 10 Ways to Build a Modern Cloth Diaper Stash–on the Cheap, which recommends the service Giving Diapers, Giving Hope (GivingDiapersGivingHope.org). Trying to decide between cloth and disposable? Here’s a comprehensive guide on how and what to choose.

  • Anne Douglas Center of the Los Angeles Mission
    losangelesmission.org
    213-614-0743 or 213-629-1227
    310 Winston St., Los Angeles CA, 90013
  • Baby2Baby
    baby2baby.org; info@baby2baby.org
    323-933-2229
    6435 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90048
    (Note: Baby2Baby distributes diapers through organizations, not directly to families.)
  • Catholic Charities of Los Angeles – Our Lady of the Angeles Region – Metro Area – St. Mary’s Center
    catholiccharitiesla.org
    213-251-3591
    4665 Willowbrook Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90029
  • Catholic Charities of Los Angeles – San Pedro Region – Long Beach Community Services Center
    catholiccharitiesla.org/sanpedro.html
    213-251-3432
    123 E. 14th St., Long Beach, CA, 90813
  • Fred Jordan Mission
    fjm.org
    626-915-1981
    445 Towne Ave., Los Angeles, CA , 90013
  • Good + Foundation LA
    goodplusfoundation.org
    310-439-5464; info@goodplusfoundation.org
    4505 W. Jefferson Blvd., Suite 105, Los Angeles, CA, 90016
  • Grace Resource Inc.
    graceresources.org (see infant-toddler assistance here)
    661-940-5272
    45134 N. Sierra Hwy., Lancaster, CA, 93534
  • Helping Kids to Recover, Inc.
    helpingkidstorecover.org
    310-217-0616; adelgadohkr@yahoo.com
    637 East Albertoni St., Suite 200, Carson, CA
  • Home Aid Essentials
    homeaidessentials.org; info@homeaidoc.org
    949-553-9510
  • HPP Community Food Center
    hppcfc.org
    562-424-4477
    3939 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach CA, 90807
  • Love Inc. – Northeast San Gabriel Valley
    626-858-3300
    P.O. Box 3505, Covina, CA, 91722
  • Salvation Army Corps Community Center – Inglewood
    salvationarmy-socal.org
    310-677-3375
    324 E. Queen St., Inglewood, CA, 90301
  • Salvation Army Corps Community Center – Santa Monica
    salvationarmy-socal.org
    310-451-1358
    1533 4th St., Santa Monica, CA, 90401
  • Salvation Army Corps Community Center – Whittier
    salvationarmy-socal.org
    562-698-8348
    7926 S. Pickering Ave., Whittier, CA, 90602
  • St. Joseph Center
    stjosephctr.org
    310-396-6468
    204 Hampton Dr., Venice, CA, 90291
  • St. Margaret’s Center/Catholic Charities of Los Angeles
    catholiccharitiesla.org; info@CatholicCharitiesLa.org
    213-251-3400
    1531 James M. Wood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90015
  • YWCA Harbor Area and South Bay
    ywcaharbor.org
    310-547-0831
    437 W. 9th St., San Pedro, CA, 90731
  • 1736 Family Crisis Center
    1736familycrisiscenter.org
    323-737-3900, ext. 244
    2116 Arlington Avenue, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90018
    and
    Tom Bradley Youth & Family Center, Satellite FamilySource Office
    323-904-3832, ext. 211
    5213 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

2 thoughts on “How to Find Affordable Diapers and Close the #DiaperGap in L.A. County

  • November 29, 2016 at 10:07 am
    Permalink

    Hello,
    I am a Home Visitor and in my program we serve many families that struggle to make ends meet. Most of them are not able to buy diapers for their babies. I would like to know more about programs for low income families that are helping with diaper and any other needs for them in the San Fernando Valley in California.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • January 18, 2017 at 11:37 am
      Permalink

      Thanks very much for your comment, Lorena.

      Does anyone have suggestions for diaper assistance in the San Fernando Valley? If so, please share a comment here!

      It’s possible that some of the organizations above have ties to groups in the SF Valley. The page at https://helpamotherout.wordpress.com/organization-list/diaperbank/ says that LA Diaper Drive provides diapers to parenting program attendees at Friends of the Family’s Young Moms/Young Dads program in Van Nuys. Also, you might contact Baby2Baby (www.baby2baby.org and info@baby2baby.org) to see if they work with anyone in your area to distribute diapers.

      Reply

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