After Paying High Rent, Bay Area Families Struggle to Afford Diapers - NBC Bay Area
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After Paying High Rent, Bay Area Families Struggle to Afford Diapers

Struggling families pay almost twice as much as other families who order online, according to the White House.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The cost of diapers can add up fast and many Bay Area families are struggling to pay for them. Raj Mathai reports. (Published Thursday, March 10, 2016)

    For visitors to Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose, surviving parenthood isn’t about finding “me time” or working in “date night” with their spouses. Moms here are struggling just to put diapers on their babies. At times, they go to unhealthy lengths if they can’t afford them.

    “If it’s not that wet, they’d put maybe a piece of cloth or toilet paper, clean it off and then reuse it,” Sacred Heart family support program manager Laura Diaz said, describing what her clients do when they run out.

    Mothers there on Thursday told NBC Bay Area that their kids often end up with rashes and infections, but there is not much they can do.

    Plenty of people donate diapers to Sacred Heart – and other local diaper banks such as Help a Mother Out in San Francisco and Baby Basics of the Peninsula –but it simply isn’t enough.
    Sacred Heart says it is on waiting lists to get more donated diapers. At the moment, the organization can only give families 12 diapers per month.

    Thursday, the White House announced a new initiative to make diapers more affordable, and are calling on the tech industry to help revolutionize the way we sell diapers.

    Struggling families pay almost twice as much as other families who order online, according to the White House. And it is asking companies like Jet.com to find a way to get cheaper, bulk diapers to families without internet access by streamlining diaper packaging. Huggies is also matching donations up to one million diapers until April 10.

    For those on minimum wage in Santa Clara County, about six percent of their incomes go to diapers, according to Diaz. Nationally, this can be up to 14 percent.

    Friday morning, President Obama is expected to address to so-called “Diaper Gap” during his keynote speech at the South By Southwest music, film and interactive festival in Austin.

    “A lot of our families don’t have access to the internet at home, or a lot of our families are working two or three jobs, or they’re homeless. So they don’t have an address to have the diapers sent to them,” Diaz said.

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