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Diapers Represent A Significant Need For Low-Income Families

An estimated 17,000 Kansas City kids don't have enough diapers.

Their families just can't afford them.

"Diapers and other hygiene products – including cleaning supplies – are not provided by any state or federal subsidy," says Joanne Goldblum, executive director of the National Diaper Bank Network.

And diapers, especially the disposable kind required by most childcare centers, are a significant expense, up to $100 a week.

If that amount seems high, Goldblum says it's because poor families don't have the same resources as wealthier ones.

"The less money you have, the more things cost. If you can buy a large box of diapers at a discount club, they cost much less," says Goldblum. "But you have to have the ability to get to that store and that amount of money to lay out."

Goldblum says a growing body of evidence has linked diaper need with higher levels of maternal stress,  including a Yale University study published last year in the journal Pediatrics. But she says there's still pushback against the very idea of diaper banks.

"A lot of people feel if you've had a child and you can't afford to provide their basic needs, that really you and your child deserve to live in whatever difficulty you might have," says Goldblum.

Goldblum was in Kansas City, Mo., this week for her organization's annual conference. Locally, diaper bank HappyBottoms has distributed more than 2 million diapers to families in need.

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