Diaper Banks: A Community Investment
Keeping up with a baby’s diaper demands can cost a family $70 to $80 per month or about $900 per year. For some families, it’s an annoying blip on the budget. But for others, the cost can be impossible to meet — and bring devastating consequences.
That’s why, as one of only two diaper banks in the state, the Central Arkansas Diaper Bank is a crucial community resource. Operated through Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church (PHUMC) by a board of moms, the diaper bank is a beautiful example of parents coming together to support fellow parents.
We chatted with Allyson Pittman Gattin, a Diaper Bank board member and co-founder, to learn how to connect — whether you need help or would like to support their efforts.
A Much-Needed Change
“One in three U.S. families experience diaper need, which can cause babies to wear soiled diapers for extended periods of time, exposing them to potential health risks,” Gattin explains.
Beyond the immediate health risks, a family’s inability to keep up with their baby’s diaper need can spiral into a systemic issue. “Children may be unable to be accepted to day care due to lack of diapers, causing the parent, who may already struggle financially, to be unable to work. This can feed into the cyclical effects of poverty and make it harder for someone to be able to provide the necessities to their children,” Gattin continues.
To make the issue even more urgent, help for diaper cost is not currently supported by WIC or consistently by area food banks. The need for change in our area was clear.
A New Arrival
In September 2018, PHUMC hosted a diaper drive for St. Luke’s Children’s Learning Center, a day care that provides reduced-rate care for low-income families. While the drive was able to supply St. Luke’s with diapers during the day, many families still expressed a need for diapers at home.
The continued need inspired mom and KATV anchor Erin Hawley to create an ongoing community resource. She took her idea to fellow moms, and through their teamwork the Central Arkansas Diaper Bank was born in April 2019.
How to Receive Free Diapers
Community members can come on the first Wednesday of every month to receive free diapers and food from the PHUMC Food Pantry. You can find more information online at PHUMC.com/DiaperBank. Parents can also reach out directly via email at PHUMCDiaperBank@gmail.com.
How to Support the Central Arkansas Diaper Bank
“As an all-volunteer, donation-based organization, the support of the community is critical. Donations — both financial and supplies — help us fulfill the needs of families on a monthly basis,” says Gattin. One hundred percent of financial donations to the Central Arkansas Diaper Bank are used for the direct purchase of diapers as operational costs are funded by PHUMC.
Upcoming Diaper Drive
While you can donate at any time, the Central Arkansas Diaper Bank will be hosting a month-long community-wide diaper drive in September. The drive — a partnership with KATV — will honor National Diaper Need Awareness Week.
• Diapers and pull-ups (in any size, open packages are accepted)
• Car seats
Drop off: Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church main desk
Hours: Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. - noon
Buy Online: You can also purchase diapers from an online retailer such as Amazon or Walmart and have them mailed directly to the church at 4823 Woodlawn Drive, Little Rock.
Make a Donation: PHUMC.com/DiaperBank