NORFOLK, Va. - For babies, diapers are a pretty basic necessity. Unfortunately, not all families can afford them.
“We get requests for more than 150,000 diapers a month, and we are getting maybe a third of that," Cher Leadbeater said.
That means some babies are forced to sit in the same diaper all day long.
“I heard a news story on TV about babies staying in the same diaper all day, and it broke my heart. It still breaks my heart today,” Leadbeater said.
Cher Leadbeater says she was holding her 9-month-old grandchild when she heard about the diaper need, and it stuck with her.
“The closest diaper bank to us was in Richmond, which was crazy, because if you can’t afford diapers, you can’t afford to go to Richmond to get diapers,” Leadbeater said.
She got the idea to open a Hampton Roads diaper bank - but even after seven years, she says the need is never met. Currently, the bank can only give each family 25 diapers at a time.
On average, a baby goes through eight to 10 diapers a day. That means when a family picks up one pack of 25, it will last the family at most two and a half days. That’s why some babies in low-income families are staying in the same diaper all day long.
Not only do babies need diapers for health development, Leadbeater says day cares require a full day's supply of diapers for each child.
“It’s a catch-22, because the parent can’t go to work to earn money to buy the diapers and they don’t have diapers to put their child in daycare,” Leadbeater said.
This week is National Diaper Need Awareness Week. Leadbeater says every day is a good day to donate diapers or dollars.
She said newborn, pull-up and adult diapers are all needed.
“There are a lot of elderly who are becoming reclusive because they can’t afford diapers, and they are embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help,” Leadbeater said.
The bank accepts new and opened packages of diapers. To learn more, you can email Leadbeater at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website here.