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.”
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.
- Anne Douglas Center of the Los Angeles Mission
213-614-0743 or 213-629-1227
310 Winston St., Los Angeles CA, 90013
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
4665 Willowbrook Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90029
- Catholic Charities of Los Angeles – San Pedro Region – Long Beach Community Services Center
123 E. 14th St., Long Beach, CA, 90813
- Fred Jordan Mission
445 Towne Ave., Los Angeles, CA , 90013
- Good + Foundation LA
4505 W. Jefferson Blvd., Suite 105, Los Angeles, CA, 90016
- Grace Resource Inc.
graceresources.org (see infant-toddler assistance here)
45134 N. Sierra Hwy., Lancaster, CA, 93534
- Helping Kids to Recover, Inc.
637 East Albertoni St., Suite 200, Carson, CA
- Home Aid Essentials
- HPP Community Food Center
3939 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach CA, 90807
- Love Inc. – Northeast San Gabriel Valley
P.O. Box 3505, Covina, CA, 91722
- Salvation Army Corps Community Center – Inglewood
324 E. Queen St., Inglewood, CA, 90301
- Salvation Army Corps Community Center – Santa Monica
1533 4th St., Santa Monica, CA, 90401
- Salvation Army Corps Community Center – Whittier
7926 S. Pickering Ave., Whittier, CA, 90602
- St. Joseph Center
204 Hampton Dr., Venice, CA, 90291
- St. Margaret’s Center/Catholic Charities of Los Angeles
1531 James M. Wood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90015
- YWCA Harbor Area and South Bay
437 W. 9th St., San Pedro, CA, 90731