The Nappie Project, a local non-profit organization founded in 2015 by retired social worker Jan Touslee and pediatrician Rachel Konda-Sundheim, works to "ensure that children in Loveland, Fort Collins and surrounding communities have an adequate supply of diapers to remain clean, dry and healthy." They have experienced first-hand the struggles of many families to keep their children adequately supplied with diapers and know too well the negative impacts of diaper need. Diaper need is the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep a child clean, dry and healthy.
According to the National Diaper Bank Network, 1 in 3 families have reported a diaper need and low income families can spend up to 20 percent of their monthly income on diapers. Because neither State nor Federal programs, including Medicaid, SNAP and WIC, pay for or subsidized the cost of diapers, diapers cost a family $70-80 per month, per child. Unfortunately, diapers must compete with rent, utilities, gas and food, leaving many families and children without diapers each month. In Larimer County, 30.8 percent of single mothers live in poverty and 64 percent of Colorado mothers in the workforce have an infant. Because most childcare facilities require parents of infants and toddlers to provide the days supply of disposable diapers, often parents miss work due to diaper need, further perpetuating negative financial spirals. In a recent Feeding America survey, 32 percent of Food Bank clients stated they had reused a diaper. The ramifications of diaper need are far reaching, including medical, psychological and financial. The Yale School of Medicine found the #1 predictive demographic variable of postpartum depression in new, poverty level mothers was diaper need, ranking higher than food insecurity, housing instability or race. Children left in wet and soiled diapers often develop diaper rashes and infections. A recent study of the Diaper Bank in Connecticut found that incidence of diaper rash declined 33 percent among children whose families received supplies of clean diapers and babies experienced 77 percent fewer days of diaper rash. Additionally, providing diapers to families eliminates $4.3 million annually in medical costs due to reductions in both incidence and days of diaper rash (Carstensen, 2016).
To address these issues, diaper banks have been established by individuals and organizations across the country. Diaper banks do not distribute diapers directly to families, but distribute diapers through networks of partner agencies. Currently, there is only one diaper bank in Northern Colorado,The Nappie Project. The Nappie Project networks with 14 partner agencies in Fort Collins, Loveland and Berthoud to supply diapers for families participating in programs partner agency programs. While they distribute approximately 52,000 diapers per quarter, they still fall short meeting the needs of each partner agency. Through this grant, they will be increasing their impact by meeting the needs of their partner, The Family Medicine Center.
These grant funds will go entirely to buying supplies to support the distribution of diapers in our community. The Nappie Project, through their purchasing agreement, will purchase the diapers and packaging supplies. The diapers will be delivered to the Nappie Project facility, where Rotary Club members will meet to assist the Nappie Project volunteers packaging diapers for delivery. This wrapping event will be scheduled for Fall 2019. The diapers purchased through this grant will be used to increase the reach of the Nappy Project and cover the supply of the Family Medicine Center pantry, where each family in need will receive one package of diapers per child per visit. We aim to supply Family Medicine Center, through the Nappy Project, with one year's supply of diapers. Any excess diapers will then be used for other partners requesting assistance. With these funds we will be able to purchase approximately 16,000 diapers to go directly to families in our community. Additionally, the funds from this grant will go toward increasing the sustainability of the The Nappie Project by purchasing totes for The Family Medicine Center that will be dedicated to delivery of diapers to this facility.