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Largest Diaper Drive in America This Saturday at MOA

January 11, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - There are programs to help low-income families address most basic needs, but until recently, there hasn't been a local service to address one often overlooked need - for babies to have clean, dry diapers. The Diaper Drive is a Minnesota nonprofit just formed last year to provide that service, with a motto of "No Child Wet Behind". This Saturday, they're hosting what is billed as the "biggest diaper drive in America" at the Mall of America to collect 200,000 diapers and raise awareness about this critical need.

Kristen Grode, the founder of The Diaper Drive, says the problem is real.

"Diapers are a basic need just like food and shelter, yet public programs designed to address basic needs - like food stamps or WIC - don't cover diapers, so we're trying to fill this critical gap for low-income families."

A recent study commissioned by Kimberly Clark, maker of a popular brand of disposable diapers, found that one mother in three in the U.S. reports cutting back on basic essentials like food, utilities or child care in order to afford enough diapers for her children. Grode says at about $100 a month, the high cost of diapers can put low-income families in desperate situations.

"There are families out there that end up leaving their children in a diaper for a day or more because they just can't afford another pack of diapers."

Some critics have argued that low-income families should use cloth diapers. Grode says while this is great alternative for some families, it can create a barrier for low-income families that are trying to access subsidized child care.

"Many daycare facilities don't take cloth diapers, and for families who are trying to become financially independent, that can be a frustration. So it's a more logical solution for low-income families to use disposable diapers. "

She adds that for families without easy access to laundry facilities, the washing costs can add up quickly, and most laundromats have policies that forbid the washing of cloth diapers. With locations in Alexandria, Duluth, Fargo and the Twin Cities, The Diaper Drive does accept both cloth and disposable diapers in newborn through adult sizes.

The all-day event Saturday is to feature live entertainment by Mindy Hester and the Time Outs, a "Dolly Diaper Changing Contest," baby yoga, and other family-friendly activities.

For more information, visit www.thediaperdrive.org

The Kimberly Clark "Every Little Bottom" study is at www.huggies.com

Sharon Rolenc, Public News Service - MN