The shelves of the Diaper Bank at the Pike County Health Department are nearly empty and staff at the local health department are having to turn families needing diapers away, according to officials with the local healthcare agency.
“They are a little let down,” Jamie Anderson said. Anderson is the Women, Infant, and Children program coordinator in Pike County and employee of the Pike County Health Department. “They come to us hoping that we are going to be able to help them.”
Anderson said currently the supply has “dwindled down to almost nothing.”
The diaper bank when fully stocked has a supply of almost 20,000 disposable diapers. It currently has fewer than 500 disposable diapers, according to officials with the Pike County Health Department.
Currently, the diaper bank has a limited supply of size one and two disposable diapers. Anderson said they are currently out of all other sizes.
“Now that people know that it is here, they are using the diaper bank as a resource when they get stuck financially,” Anderson said. The diaper bank was started two years ago by local residents who were concerned by reports that families were leaving young children in soiled diapers for extended period of times due to the family’s inability to afford new diapers.
The local diaper bank is used by the more than 400 individuals in Pike County enrolled in the WIC Program. The WIC program is a federal program that helps provide supplemental funds to mothers of young children. The funds can be used to purchase foods, health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding women. Children from low-income children can be enrolled in the program from birth to age of the five, depending on the income levels of their parents.
WIC funds do not cover purchases like disposable diapers or diaper wipes.
According to the National Diaper Bank Network, there are zero direct government assistance programs that supplement the cost of diapers, which can cost between $70 to $80 a month for a child who averages between 6 to 10 diapers per day.
The National Diaper Bank network also reports that parents who purchase cloth diapers face challenges too. Many coin operated laundromats prohibit the washing of soiled cloth diapers in their machines and many families can not afford to purchase their own washer and dryer unit.
Anderson said that when she and her colleagues disperse the appropriate sized diapers to the WIC families, the faces of the mothers and fathers resemble a sense of relief.
“They are very thankful, because they come in and they only have a couple of diapers left and they don’t have the funds to go out and purchase the diapers,” Anderson said.
Anderson said she is hopeful that the community will rally once again the local diaper bank.
“I don’t know how to word it, other than that I would be incredibly grateful and excited to see the diaper bank restocked,” Anderson said. “There are people in this community who rely on the resources of the health department, including the diaper bank.”
Ultimately, Anderson said she hopes the community can help get the local diaper bank’s supply built back up until supporters of the local diaper bank launch their third annual diaper drive later this November.
Diapers or monetary contributions can be delivered to the Bowling Green Times office, located at 106 West Main Street in Bowling Green. They can also be delivered to the office of the Louisiana Press-Journal, which is located at 3408 Georgia Street in Louisiana. Due to the limited quantity of diapers at the local diaper bank, donations are asked to be delivered by July 28.