How Miracle Babies is helping both immediate needs and long-term mental health needs
Did you know that 1 in 3 families in the US is unable to afford diapers for their children? The National Diaper Back Network outlines that these were pre-pandemic numbers, and the diaper banks have reported that during the pandemic the need has gone up over 86% on average. As you know, the pandemic is when Miracle Babies recognized this gap in many families ability to obtain basic needs, and we began hosting our drive-through diaper distributions. There continues to be well over 300 families served in each of our diaper distributions (often double that amount), which just goes to show how many families need this service continuously. While the government does provide programs to assist low-income families with food (WIC, SNAP), those programs are exclusively for food and do not include basic items like diapers. Cloth diapers can sometimes be another remedy, but most public wash and dry facilities do not allow cloth diapers to be washed there, and many low-income homes do not have their own laundry facility. Many diaper banks also can only meet so much of the demand and rely on community efforts like Miracle Babies to help. Some people have asked why Miracle Babies has launched this assistance targeted at diapers. If you can imagine having to balance limited income for other basic needs such as electricity, running water, clothing, and food, sometimes diapers are sadly a luxury and families have had to re-use disposable diapers or keep them in a soiled diaper much longer than indicated leading to rashes, infections, and many other adverse outcomes. Not only have diapers needs been shown to be a precursor to poverty, but it has also been correlated with maternal mental health conditions. A study by Yale, published in the journal of Pediatrics in 2013 showed that women who reported mental health needs were significantly more likely to report a diaper need than those without mental health needs. Nationally in 2016, diaper banks were only able to meet 4% of the 700 million children living in families at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. While sadly none of this is new information (studies from 2013 and 2016), there has been a highlight of the dramatic need for the assistance of families during the pandemic. We are so fortunate that as an established non-profit, Miracle Babies is able to target both diaper needs and mental health needs while still providing transportation services to NICU families in Southern California.
Thank you to those of you who have supported our efforts in meeting some families basic needs and we always love volunteers to continue to help at future diaper distributions! Please view our events page to see more ways that you can volunteer at upcoming events!