The Diaper Crisis in America


baby1A growing grassroots movement taking shape throughout the country is focused on one of the most basic needs of infants and toddlers…diapers. More specifically, the issue is “diaper need,” the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep a baby clean, dry and healthy.

In fact, one in three American families reports struggling with diaper need, a hidden consequence of poverty.

For the third consecutive year, Diaper Need Awareness Week scheduled for September 8 – 14, 2014 will draw attention to the issue and prompt individuals, organizations, diaper banks, communities and elected officials to take action and help get diapers to babies who need them.

To date, governors and state legislatures in 16 states-Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin-along with nearly 60 mayors and county supervisors throughout the country, have recognized Diaper Need Awareness Week via official proclamations. More are expected to announce support throughout the week.

Many people are unaware that government assistance programs-such as food stamps and WIC-do not provide funding for diapers, a basic necessity for babies. There are currently 5.6 million infants and toddlers living in low-income families, many of whom face a daily struggle to secure a necessary supply of diapers.

A signature initiative of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN), Diaper Need Awareness Week features a range of activities focused on diaper need and its prevalence in communities across the country. The week is fueled by the grassroots efforts of NDBN’s more than 210 member diaper banks. The website provides updates on local and statewide events and activities related to diaper need, as well as how individuals and organizations can become involved, ranging from hosting a diaper drive to using the hashtag #DiaperNeed in social media. To promote the usage of the hashtag, NDBN’s founding sponsor Huggies®, will donate diapers to babies in need for every post with #DiaperNeed.

“Millions of families struggle every day to provide an adequate supply of diapers for their children, and that is unacceptable,” said Joanne Goldblum, founder and executive director of the National Diaper Bank Network.

“Diaper Need Awareness week recognizes that small things, diapers, affect big things, including a families physical, mental and economic well-being. Diapers matter. And, for families in need, diaper banks frequently provide the only resources available to help moms, dads, grandparents and others obtain the diapers they need to keep a child clean, dry and healthy.”

Diaper banks help address diaper need by collecting, storing and distributing free diapers to families experiencing financial hardship. While they range in size and scope, diaper banks obtain diapers through local diaper drives, in-kind donations by manufacturers and retailers, and by purchasing diapers directly with donated funds. Diaper banks distribute disposable and/or cloth diapers.

The National Diaper Bank Network supports diaper banks by raising awareness of diaper need, providing technical assistance to help existing and new diaper banks, and distributing diapers and funding for diaper banks to supply families in need.  Since opening in 2011, NDBN in conjunction with its founding sponsor Huggies® has distributed nearly 60 million diapers to families in need via its network of diaper banks and community partners.

Getting Involved

Individuals and organizations can get involved in Diaper Need Awareness Week in the following ways:

  • Donate to a Diaper Bank

As nonprofit organizations, diaper banks rely on the generosity of the community for financial and diaper donations.  A directory of local diaper banks is maintained by the National Diaper Bank Network on its website

  • Use #DiaperNeed in Social Media

Fans of social media-Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other social platforms-can share experiences and raise online awareness of diaper need by using the hashtag #DiaperNeed.  Follow the National Diaper Bank Network on Twitter (@DiaperNetwork) and Facebook (

  • Host a Diaper Drive

Make an impact in your community by holding a diaper drive to benefit a local diaper bank or agency. The website features a guide on how to hold a diaper drive, located under “Take Action” button.
About the National Diaper Bank Network: The National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) is a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that every child in the U.S. has enough diapers to be clean, dry & healthy. Founded in 2011, the network raises awareness of diaper need (#DiaperNeed) and supports the development and expansion of diaper banks in communities throughout the country. Its active membership includes more than 200 diaper banks, diaper closets and food banks located in 44 states and the District of Columbia. More information on NDBN and diaper need is available at, and on Twitter (@DiaperNetwork) andFacebook (

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  1. Didn’t Hillary talk about toilet paper conservation a fee years ago? Looks like these people are really obsessed with the bottom.

  2. This is too much. First we had the shidduch crises. Then we had the tuition crises. Now we have this crises? What’s the world coming to? Its because Obama lets all these illegal immigrants to flood the borders with their 30 children! Close the borders and your problem will be solved.

  3. People are so spoiled today with disposable diapers. Invest in three or four dozen cloth diapers and the diaper crisis will be solved

  4. This is no joke, especially for frum families which may have 3 children in diapers at a time. Also, I’m told by those who know that using cloth diapers and washing them is actually more expensive in the long run than using disposables, so that’s not an easy solution.

    This is an excellent opportunity for chessed/tzedakah groups to pioneer. So many of our families are struggling just to meet basic needs and tuition, a “diaper gemach” would be a good way to help young and not-so-young families in the community.

  5. Oh! I wonder how our grand-grand-grandparents did. Not only they did not have (nor could afford, FWIW) disposable diapers – they did not even have washing machines.

  6. Start potty training early like in the olden days. Now kids are still in diapers until they are 3-4 years old. Tots used to be trained by age 2.