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 and NationalDiaperBankNetwork.org, both 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.

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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