When you think about “helping the poor and homeless” the concept can be so huge and in some ways abstract that it’s hard to know where to start. Food? Shelter? Clothing? Medical care? Education? Training programs? It’s overwhelming. For me, Help A Mother Out is so specific that it makes it so easy to make a difference.
The facts are these: Diapers and baby wipes are not covered under social safety net programs like WIC and food stamps. And diapers are expensive. And you need a lot of them every day. Poor and homeless families often have to decide between food, rent and diapers. Babies can go without a clean diaper for days, leading to health problems for the baby and more stress for the family.
Help A Mother Out is working to bridge the gap and provide diapers for those in need. While HAMO is based in San Francisco, they have an LA/SoCal branch run by the amazing and tireless Kim Tracy Prince. Along with being a working mom of two, Kim makes time to organize diaper drives and raise awareness of this growing problem.
Earlier this week I attended the final day of the Glendale diaper drive. (I had written about it in November.) A variety of groups, along with Help A Mother Out worked to raise 22,833 diapers in two weeks. Awesome! At the Glendale armory, over 16,000 diapers (I helped count) were there for an official photo and then to be distributed to specific organizations that would hand them out to families who needed them. The overall event was for homeless awareness in general and we handed out diapers to homeless moms with their kids right then and there.
I was particularly touched as I helped a woman who works for Door Of Hope in Glendale. Door of Hope is a transitional housing organization to help homeless families get back on their feet. This dedicated woman specifically works with battered and abused women and children who have left bad situations, sometimes with almost nothing but the clothes on their backs. She had a list of the 11 babies (newborn to toddlers) currently living there who needed diapers. One of the moms was going through chemo and had a one year old. The Door Of Hope woman asked me, “Do you think I could get two boxes of diapers for her?” It was all I could do to A) not burst into tears and B) not put all the diapers you see above in her car.
So this holiday season or even in the New Year — it doesn’t matter when, because there is always a need — please consider donating money or diapers to Help A Mother out. Go to their website and find the “Donate Now” button or if you have diapers you want to drop off in person, click here to find out how to do that. And you can donate diapers online. Click here to find out how.
Every baby deserves a clean diaper!
And if you are wondering about cloth diapers, here is the info about that from the HAMO website:
Our greatest need is for disposable diapers (traditional brand or eco-friendly). However, we gratefully accept NEW cloth pocket diaper kits, similiar to Econobum diaper kits, for distribution to a small percentage of the families we serve. Why? For the vast majority of our partner’s clients, cloth diapers are not a realistic option. We recommend reading the Diaper Divide as a primer on this debate. The Cloth Diaper Foundation is a nonprofit organization that primarily helps families in need get started with cloth diapering, and they accept donations of new and gently used cloth diapers.
(And yes, I put my money where my blog post is. I have personally donated about 1000 diapers this year.)