LOS ANGELES — The pandemic has had a lasting impact on mothers who were already struggling to get by before COVID-19. Now, several nonprofits in Los Angeles are seeing a significant increase in need for diapers and wipes.
What You Need To Know
- Local nonprofits see significant increase in need for diapers and wipes
- Low income mothers are struggling now more than ever
- One in three U.S. families experience diaper need, according to the National Diaper Bank Network
- Studies show disposable diapers can cost up to $80 per month
Studies show disposable diapers can cost up to $80 per month, per baby. Local nonprofits are doing all they can to keep enough diapers ready for mothers who call, but one in three U.S. families are experiencing diaper need, according to the National Diaper Bank Network.
For now, there is a wall of diapers at the Union Rescue Mission, but demand is so high that the supply runs out quickly.
Sixty-two families with young children live at the facility on Skid Row, and CEO Andy Bales said more mothers call every day desperate for help.
“People [are] out of work [and] can’t afford food and diapers. Can’t afford food if they buy the diapers, or can’t afford diapers if they buy the food. Can’t afford rent," Bales said.
Parents already struggling before the pandemic have been pushed over the edge by COVID-19.
Shalina Hunter moved from house to house, staying with friends and family in hostile environments until finding her way to the Union Rescue Mission.
“If I didn’t know the Lord, it would be really, really, extra hard, because it’s so easy to get distracted and, you know, give up. It’s so easy to turn to drugs and alcohol," said Hunter.
Taking in his temporary home at just the age of one, Hunter's infant son Josiah is much too young to see the sacrifices his mother makes every day. Hunter said she knows what it feels like to choose between necessities: diapers or food?
“I would call a family member or a friend to borrow $20 and have to give it back to them to buy Pampers or wipes," Hunter said. “You feel a little depressed sometimes because it’s like, OK what am I going to do?' Because he can’t talk and tell me what he needs, and me, as a mother, I have to be his voice, so it’s like, OK I have to put everything aside. It’s no more all about me, it’s about my son.”
It's not just her. Thousands of mothers are reaching out for help, depleting donations.
The Union Rescue Mission gets most of its diaper supply from Baby2Baby, a nonprofit organization. According to Baby2Baby, since COVID-19 hit, it has distributed over 30 million basic essentials like diapers and formula to families, but the need only continues to grow.
The wipes go just as quickly. At the Union Rescue Mission, they're on their final few packs.
“So, not only diapers for new moms, especially coming out of the hospital, but also wipes," said Bales. "Whenever you need diapers you also need wipes."
Bales said he is expecting another influx of mothers with nowhere else to go.
“We think a deluge of families in need could come from the post-pandemic effect, and the economic effect," Bales predicted.
Lasting impacts of a virus, with no end in sight. But staff at the Union Rescue Mission say every call for help is answered, and no mother will ever be turned away.
The Union Rescue Mission accepts donations at any time during business hours. For more information, visit URM.org.