Babies Of Homelessness

Notoriously overlooked when discussing the topic of poverty and homelessness is an essential need for diapers. Funders, government officials and other stakeholders tend to focus on pie-in-the-sky, complex and systems-based solutions while ignoring the fact that families must have their basic needs first met to attain higher growth needs. Ask any family and social worker and they will tell you a seemingly small item like an adequate supply of diapers can make all the difference for a family in need; it’s as necessary for development, health and well-being as food and shelter are. Before the pandemic, 1 in 3 parents struggle with diaper need, the struggle to keep a baby or toddler clean, dry and healthy with a sufficient number of clean diapers.

  • It costs a family $100 a month to keep up with diapers alone and public assistance programs like WIC and SNAP do not pay for diapers.
  • Diapers can be bought with TANF cash assistance, but the funds families do receive are insufficient to purchase diapers and pay all the other expenses (rent, emergency stays, utility bills, clothing, food, transportation to get to work, etc.).
  • Most childcare facilities require parents to provide an adequate supply of diapers. If parents cannot provide diapers, children cannot participate in early education programs key to their development and parents cannot work and sustain an income. 

It has always been more than about the diaper. Babies of Homelessness is a local nonprofit that provides basic needs to families in need in King and Snohomish counties. The team is on the front lines every day delivering diapers, formula, and wipes and directly placing them in the hands of families living in shelters, encampments, motels, cars/RVs, micro shelters, or couch surfing. At Babies of Homelessness, the motto is no multiple rounds of intakes, no waitlist, no red tape, no referral process. The children’s needs are always the top priority.


With the pandemic, the number of families turning to the diaper bank has tripled and the need has skyrocketed more than 300%. The diaper bank is trying to keep up with the need. Since it takes more than diapers to raise a small child, Babies of Homelessness partners with Eastside Baby Corner and delivers requested necessities such as clothing, books, toys, car seats, and hygiene kits.

Babies of Homelessness knows they are not eliminating homelessness, but by urgently providing basic needs services, they are helping relieve at least one stressor so that families can navigate through their everyday lives and focus on attaining higher growth needs.

“Sometimes we receive criticism for what we do because we are not solving everything at once,” Stockert says. “However, research has shown a huge correlation between the diaper needs of low-income mothers and maternal depression. Diaper need, even more than a lack of food, is a stressor that leads to hardships and mental health struggles. So if we can alleviate this problem, we, and the community, can continue to work on the rest.”


Impact:

  • 4,500 families served
  • 274,746 diapers distributed (on track to deliver 450,000 by end of the year) 
  • 128 deliveries

Here’s How to Help:

-Donate babiesofhomelessness.org/donate

-Host a Donation Drive http://ow.ly/dKwf50EsdEt

-Enroll Babies of Homelessness in Corporate Matching 

-Pledge your Birthday via a Facebook fundraiser



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