Diaper Demand: Families Struggle to Afford Basic Essentials

The pandemic and impacts of inflation continue to hit families hard

NBC Universal, Inc.

Volunteers at Cradles to Crayons pack up supplies for families in need across the state. One of the most in-demand items is diapers.

"The need for diapers in Massachusetts is huge right now. It’s been growing so much and especially because of inflation we are seeing a big impact right now," said Aubrey Henderson, the organization's executive director.

They serve roughly 200,000 families a year. Diapers are becoming out of reach for families in need.

"Before the pandemic we distributed about 500,000 free diapers every year. This year, last year we are up 2 and half million free diapers throughout Massachusetts and it’s not enough," said Henderson.

The organization distributes goods to outreach organizations like the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.

"I have seen a consistent need in the community for financial support with diapers specifically," said Margaret Keithline, care navigator at the center.

Earlier on in the pandemic, the organization had a grant and was able to provide more diapers than they can now. They now rely on Cradles to Crayons.

"We only provide three packs at a time and that’s only every six months, so that will not last very long," said Keithline.

Kids usually go through eight to 12 diapers a day. She says many parents are forced to re-use them.

Cradles to Crayons relies on donations. They get the diapers from the manufacturer at cost and even with that, they are paying 30% more these days due to inflation. If Henderson had her way she’d have millions more diapers to give out.

"I am surprised and saddened that the need has gotten that much greater and families cannot afford these basic essentials," said Henderson.

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