Nonprofit hopes to fill diaper gap among struggling families - WSMV News 4

Nonprofit hopes to fill diaper gap among struggling families

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A Nashville nonprofit hopes to close the gap to get diapers to families who need them after the founder learned government assistance programs just don't cover them.

Nashville Diaper Connection said it helps about 400 children a month who wear diapers in Davidson County, and it costs the average family about $80 a month or about $1,000 a year for one child. The nonprofit's volunteers said their work is just scratching the surface on the basic need.

"Most people don't know about diaper need. It's just something we don't talk about," said Aly Greer, a volunteer.

But the handful of volunteers hope to get the conversation going in Davidson County, the only area served by Nashville Diaper Connection.

"Diapers are critical. Diapers are critical not only for that very moment that that baby is dirty, wet and crying, (but) to that child's early childhood development," said Doug Adair, president and CEO of Nashville Diaper Connection.

Adair founded the nonprofit four years ago when he wanted to help out another organization. He found out how big of a problem it is for struggling families.

"The more research we did, we were just amazed there is no federal, state or local support for diapers," Adair said.

Federal assistance programs take care of food but don't cover other basic needs like feminine products and toilet paper. Even government cash benefits, which has capped amounts, are not enough when families are choosing between paying for rent, clothes or food. 

"The consequence of that is terrible and not to mention the fact that then if you don't have the diapers to take your child to work or daycare, you may not be able to go to work or school," Greer said. "And if you can't get to work or school, then you can't afford to get more diapers."

Nashville Diaper Connection uses cash donations to buy in bulk and separate diapers out into emergency packs of 25 for their 16 distribution partners, including the Nashville Rescue Mission and Martha O'Bryan Center.

Every person gets two packs a month for each child, and that's not nearly enough.

"Most babies need between 240 and 280 diapers a month, so you can see that we are just helping tie them over until they can buy a larger supply," Adair said.

Adair said the best way for others to help is to volunteer or give a cash donation that they will use to buy the diapers at a good rate. The distribution partners include:St. Luke's Community House, NeedLink, YWCA, Martha O'Bryan Center, Nurses for Newborns, Catholic Charities of Tennessee, East Nashville Cooperative Ministry, Nashville Rescue Mission Women's Campus, Napier Elementary, Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, Cole Elementary, Pearl-Cohn High School, Jean Crowe Advocacy Center, Monroe Harding, Christian Community Outreach, and Tennessee Department of Children's Services.  Click here for more information about the organization.

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