2016-07-11 / Front Page
Dollars for Diapers happening in Bath
BY DARCIE MOORE
Times Record Staff
A United Way of Mid Coast Maine pilot program called “Dollars for Diapers” is coming to Bath this week to help get diapers to families that need them while raising awareness about the shortage of diapers.
Since 2014, United Way has distributed more than 62,000 diapers to programs such as food pantries.
Now, United Way volunteers have developed an additional outreach model which capitalizes on its new ability to purchase diapers at a significant cost savings.
Dollars for Diapers will be in Bath from Tuesday to July 18. More than 40 businesses have agreed to have canisters available all week where people can donate money for the program. People can put their change in the can as they leave a restaurant or store or donate through the United Way of Mid Coast Maine website.
United Way volunteer Dodie Jones said Bath Savings Institution has agreed to offer a $1,000 match.
The organization is emphasizing the money donations because it is collaborating with Jet.com, the makers of Cuties diapers, which will allow them to buy diapers at only 13 cents per diaper without sales tax. Buying in bulk at local stores costs closer to 20 cents per diaper.
According to the United Way, diapers can cost at least $500 per year per child. For a parent working full time at Maine’s minimum wage, that’s more than 3 percent of their income. There is no federal assistance for the purchase of diapers through programs like SNAP and WIC.
“Lacking an adequate supply of diapers causes undue stress on both baby and parents,” the United Way of Mid Coast Maine announcement states. “Not having enough diapers can affect a baby’s physical and mental health — now and in their adult lives.”
Smart shoppers can same money on diapers by buying them at bulk at big box stores, but many low-income families who may not have transportation aren’t able to buy in bulk.
Cloth diapers aren’t an option for many because many daycares won’t take cloth diapers and expect parents to bring a day’s supply of diapers, Jones said. And most people who aren’t making a lot of money do their laundry at a Laundromats, which generally don’t want diapers being washed there. They have to go through a sanitizing cycle, she said, which most Laundromat machines don’t have.
According to Kim Gates, director of the Bath Area Food Pantry, a client cried recently when we learned the food bank had diapers available through the United Way.
The White House blog “The Diaper Divide” states: “Nearly 1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers for their babies. In some cases, moms and dads stretch the time between diaper changes to make their limited resources last.”
A donation of $25 provides enough diapers for the first three weeks of a newborn’s life, according to United Way. The funds raised through Dollars for Diapers will purchase diapers for organizations including Bath Area Food Bank, Little Flock Non Food Pantry, Early Head Start Home Visiting, Maine Families — Home Visiting, Tedford Shelter, and Healthy Generations.
People can donate online at uwmcm.org/diapers or send a check payable to UWMCM - Diapers to United Way of Mid Coast Maine, 34 Wing Farm Parkway, Bath, ME 04530.
People can also donate diapers by dropping them off at United Way at 34 Wing Farm Parkway or at Bank of America from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open packages are welcome.
• THE FUNDS raised through Dollars for Diapers will purchase diapers for organizations including Bath Area Food Bank, Little Flock Non Food Pantry, Early Head Start Home Visiting, Maine Families — Home Visiting, Tedford Shelter, and Healthy Generations.
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