United Way of Southwest Wyoming’s Community Diaper Banks distributed 97,261 diapers to families in diaper need in 2023. This is an 34.25% increase in their diaper distribution from the previous year. One in two families struggle to afford diapers every month now that the price of diapers has increased roughly 32% in the last year.
Diaper need is the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep an infant or toddler clean, dry and healthy. Without clean diapers babies are more vulnerable to painful rashes and urinary tract infections and have more trips to the doctor. Three in five parents miss work because they can’t afford the diapers required to leave their baby in childcare. Clean diapers are a basic need of every baby and toddler.
“By providing diaper assistance, we not only support the physical comfort of babies but also alleviate stress on parents, enabling them to focus on the whole well-being of the child without the added worry of meeting this essential need,” said Kelly Frink, Executive Director, United Way of Southwest Wyoming.
United Way of Southwest Wyoming works to collect diapers throughout the year through various diaper drives. “We have several diaper drives that take place throughout the year. Some are public and some are within a company who may run one along with their United Way workplace campaign or with their holiday party. We also have individuals who drop them off at our office or ship them to us,” said Frink.
The Community Diaper Bank accepts new and opened packages of diapers in all sizes as well as wipes. Although, Frink stated that they currently are not in need of size 3 diapers.
The next public diaper drive is being hosted by Trona Valley Federal Credit Union during the month of February with drop off locations at their branches in Green River, Mountain View and Rock Springs. All sizes of diapers and pull-ups, adult depends and wipes will be accepted.
Through local partnerships, diapers are distributed from various locations. In Sweetwater County diapers are available at Food Bank of Sweetwater County on their normal distribution days and in Wamsutter at the Community Health Center. In Uinta County, diapers are available at Lyman Town Hall the first Tuesday of the month from 11 am – 2 pm and Uinta County B.O.C.E.S. the first Monday of the month from 12 pm – 3pm.
SNAP and WIC are not available to purchase diapers. The only federal assistance program that can be used for diapers is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance. However, only 23 percent of families living below the Federal Poverty Level receive cash assistance through TANF nationwide.
“TANF cash assistance has to cover many other expenses, including heat, electric and water bills, rent, clothing, transportation, and other basic needs. Little if any money is available to purchase enough diapers to keep a baby clean, dry, and healthy,” said Frink.
In addition to running local community diaper banks, United Way of Southwest Wyoming works to secure diaper donations for Lincoln and Fremont Counties when possible, as these counties are also in their coverage area. “We have some wonderful partnerships with other non-profits in these counties,” said Frink. “When other funding and donations are available for our coverage area we do what we can to secure them and get them delivered to these areas.” In November 2023, United Way of Southwest Wyoming received a special donation from Baby2Baby. This included 61,400 diapers and 24,000 wipes that were sent to the Sweetwater and Uinta County Diaper Banks and the Afton Food Pantry.
United Way of Southwest Wyoming Community Diaper Banks are members of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN). The NDBN works in partnership with their Network of diaper banks, allied programs, donors, sponsors and elected officials to end diaper need and period poverty in the United States. They also provide local and national statistics.
United Way of Southwest Wyoming is working to close the diaper need gap. To get involved or for more information visit contact Shelley Richno at 362-5003.