If the government can make cheese, why can’t they make diapers?

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

I recently learned that there are such places called Diaper Banks. In fact, we have one in the Bay Area, which was started last year. Here are some facts you should file away and write to the Big Cheese(s) about:

  1. While safety-net programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and WIC (Women Infants Children) cover the cost of infant formula, they do NOT cover diapers.
  2. Diaper companies do NOT give diapers away (unless you are Jon and Kate Plus 8 or the California octuplets).
  3. Interestingly, infant formula companies donate formula and the government subsidizes it under SNAP and WIC.
  4. Diapers cost exponentially more at an inner city convenience store than they do at a big box store or online.
  5. Most laundromats do NOT allow you to wash cloth diapers. If you are poor, you probably don’t own a washing machine.
  6. Most licensed daycare centers (esp. free or subsidized) do not accept cloth diapers. Parents must provide disposable diapers.
  7. If a family can’t afford diapers (e.g., they need it for shelter, food, transportation) a baby will spend extended periods of time, sometimes days at a time in the same soiled diaper.
  8. Washing and re-using disposable diapers is unhealthy and unsanitary.
  9. Unhappy babies are crying babies. Crying babies are more likely to be abused by an already stressed out caregiver.
  10. If you cannot afford diapers, you cannot take your child to free/subsidized childcare. Therefore, you cannot make your commitments such as  work, school, or job training.
  11. Start over.

I found most of these facts on various diaper bank websites and in an About.com interview with Hildy Gottlieb, the founder of the nation’s first diaper bank , Southern Arizona Community Diaper Bank.

Question: If the government can make cheese, subsidize  infant formula, AND childcare to the poor, why can’t they contract with Seventh Generation or gDiapers to manufacture diapers and then subsidize?

What are your thoughts or insights on this?


6 responses to “If the government can make cheese, why can’t they make diapers?

  1. That’s a bummer but thanks for bringing that to my attention… what can we do? Just today, I was in a store in Berkeley with 10 wipes and no dipes and I relied on the mercy of the community to spare/share a clean diaper with my little guy. That probably doesn’t work every time.

    “Buddy can you spare a diaper?”

  2. The politics of the diaper – it is amazing that a little commodity can have such an impact on so many different levels. Every city has a food bank, right? Every city should have a diaper bank…

  3. I am newly educated to this complete disconnect between a government (Executive branch AND Congressional branch) touting “Families First!” and them ignoring this basic requirement. Where’s the vox populi outrage swamping OUR elected representatives with calls and letters until diapers are covered in WIC and Foodstamps?

  4. Wondering if anyone out there knows WHY it isn’t covered. Is it because they are afraid folks will sell the diapers? That is the only reason I can possibly think of. If we can find this answer, squeaky wheels are in order.

  5. Pingback: Mother’s Day Diaper Drive update and gentle nudge

  6. plicies need to change so that parents can use cloth if they choose to – policy for accepting donation of reusable diapers needs to change because SOME do have access to a washer and some do not work and MOST have their kids at home some times so why not just use the disposables PART-TIME if that’s what appears to be “necessary” until policy changes? I just think it is absurd to not even accept reusable diapers at these diaper banks – some low income people do have washer and dryer, right?

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