In February 2020, Jane got the news that she needed a very expensive and unexpected surgery. Just two weeks later, COVID-19 hit, and Jane’s husband’s hours at work were drastically cut. Along with their income, their health insurance also disappeared, as did their savings, which went to pay for the much-needed surgery. Of their four children, the youngest two were still in diapers. Jane didn’t know where to turn.
United Way’s Reading Great by 8 early childhood development suite of direct service programs works to ensure the wellbeing of all children ages 0-8; one of the main strategies that has been employed over the years is parent education. A theme that has emerged in recent years, and that was made glaringly clear by COVID-19, is that parents who can’t fulfill their family’s basic needs cannot think about higher-level concepts such as early development and learning. One Yale University study found that one in three families
experience diaper need at some point.
Beyond the health consequences of diaper need (like urinary tract infections, painful rashes, and yeast infections), there are parental mental health implications. Research has shown that parenting stress negatively influences parenting behavior, which in turn has been shown to impact children’s development. A parent experiencing the need of not being able to provide for their baby’s necessities is very unlikely to be able to form a stable and responsive relationship with their young child.
United Way staff have recognized diaper need as a critical growing gap in our community that is impacting the health and wellbeing of children; COVID-19 accelerated the Covering Weld Diaper Bank’s creation. This need has been communicated to United Way by other parent-serving nonprofits and is evidenced by local and national statistics. From mid-March until the end of 2020, United Way staff and volunteers made over 2,000 home deliveries of diapers, wipes, formula, and other necessities to families across Weld County, from Fort Lupton to Pierce, Johnstown to Kersey, and everywhere in between.
In addition to contact-less home deliveries, the Diaper Bank distributes large quantities of its essential supplies to other organizations that serve young children and their families. This provides an easy on-ramp for additional services, while addressing an immediate need with long-term physical and mental benefits. The Diaper Bank has also proved to open in-roads into previously unreached communities within the county. Families from several different refugee backgrounds, grandparents who previously refused assistance, and numerous teen mothers now accept Diaper Bank staff openly. By establishing trust with regular deliveries of essential items when needed, staff have been able to convince these families to get more intensive assistance from other places, like Early Head Start, SafeCare Colorado, and WIC, and to provide parenting education in small, digestible snippets.
“Parents experiencing poverty in the form of income and material hardship, for example in the form of diaper need, are subject to increased parenting stress. Children whose parents manifest high levels of stress or depression are at greater risk of social, emotional, and behavioral problems.”American Academy of Pediatrics
Want to help keep babies clean and Dry?
$25 purchases a week of diapers and baby wipes. $100 pays for a full month’s worth.
- Find a participating diaper bank distributing organization.
- Sign up for Remind for reminders and updates.
- Do you need a safe place for your baby to sleep, United Way can help.
- Car Seat Safety Classes – after attending a class families may receive one (1) free car seat or booster seat per family per year. Registration is required!
- Additional Resources for Potty Training and Bed Wetting