When Phyllis Bradley began marking babies’ Friday diapers before they went home for the weekend at the childcare center where she worked, she was shocked and saddened by what she discovered come Monday morning.
“To our horror, many babies returned after the weekend with the same diaper,” says Bradley, director of the Capital Childcare Center in Richmond. “At that point, we knew we had to get busy to make a difference in the lives of these children and their families.”
Imagine trying to decide between buying diapers for the baby or dinner for the family. A research study from Huggies diapers revealed that too many parents today face that choice. In fact, one in three Americans struggles with meeting diaper needs for their babies. Remarkably, common support systems such as the food stamp program and WIC do not allow for caregivers to purchase diapers. Today’s socio-economically challenged families are finding it difficult to budget the money required for this obvious, yet somewhat pricey necessity.
Yet, parents and health care providers alike know extended wear of soiled diapers can result in severe problems for the infant like painful rashes, staph infections, chronic sores, and yeast infections.
“Many of our babies were experiencing severe dermatitis,” says Bradley.
What began as an in-house effort to provide diaper support for families at one facility soon expanded as Bradley realized the problem was widespread. In 2007, Capital Childcare Center stepped up to provide help, creating a diaper bank for the Richmond area – one of the first in Virginia.
Since its inception, Capital Diaper Bank (CDB) has distributed thousands of diapers to low-income families in the Richmond area striving to keep their babies happy and healthy. In 2011, CDB became a separate and independent organization of Capital Childcare Center with a dedicated mission to provide diapers to low-income families in Central Virginia.
Modeled on successful regional food banks, CDB collects disposable diapers, as well as cash donations used to purchase diapers in bulk. The diapers are then distributed to poor and low-income families through CDB’s member organizations – other non-profits that serve families in Central Virginia.
Bradley says companies like Hilldrup Moving & Storage of Richmond offer support by providing collection containers for large-scale corporate and community diaper drives, as well as storage space.
Capital Diaper Bank is in constant need of disposable diapers, and of course, monetary donations are also appreciated. “We’re reaching out to Richmond to ask organizations and individuals to sponsor diaper drives or fundraisers,” says Bradley. “We were very pleased to see pre-K classes at Rainbow Station in Wyndham rally to support the cause by filling coin collection jars, hosting bake sales, and conducting other fundraisers.”