Mint.com estimates that disposable diapers for the first 12 months of a child’s life cost about $800.
For families who are struggling to buy food, medicine and other necessities, this can be a huge burden.
The Junior League of Boca Raton is helping alleviate that need in south Palm Beach and northern Broward counties with its diaper bank.
It distributes about 20,000 diapers a month for about 500 children in need through 10 local social service agencies, including Family Promise of South Palm Beach County, which serves homeless families, the Florence Fuller Center in Boca and Women in Distress in Deerfield Beach.
“The need is great,” said Harlee Ann Samuels, chair of the diaper bank: Twenty-two percent of children under age 5 in Palm Beach County are living in poverty.
The Junior Leagues’s diaper bank was started in 2011 when Huggies, discovering that 1 in 3 moms were struggling to buy diapers, reached out to see if the organization could manage the distribution of 200,000 free ones. The all-volunteer Boca league went to work to find agencies that help families in need, got donated storage space and got to work.
Now the diaper bank also accepts donations of cash and diapers and conducts diaper drives, supported by the community and other organizations. Recently, the Rainbow of Love Preschool, the local Lilly Pulitzer store and others collected diapers for the bank.
Currently, the bank only distributes disposable diapers. Even though using cloth diapers can save a family thousands of dollars over three years, many families in need don’t have access to their own laundry facilities, Samuels said. Many laundromats don’t allow cloth diapers, and even some child care centers won’t accept them.
At the diaper bank, Samuels leads a committee of 12 Junior League volunteers, who coordinate diaper drives, drop-off locations and distribution to the agencies who serve the parents.
It’s fulfilling work.
“I know that babies are being taken care of,” Samuels said. “It’s all about the babies.”
HOW TO HELP
The Junior League Diaper Bank accepts donations of all brands and sizes (newborn to pull-up) of disposable diapers, even open packages. They especially need size 6 months. Diapers can be dropped off at these locations:
- The Junior League office at 261 NW 13th St. Call 561-620-2553.
- Mission Bay self-storage, which donates space to the diaper bank, 20273 State Road 7 (U.S. 441).
- Federal Highway self-storage, 415 S. Federal Hwy., in Deerfield Beach.
And a couple of diaper drives:
- The WOW Factory in Coconut Creek is giving away a free game when you bring in a pack of diapers.
- The Just Between Friends consignment sale in Coral Springs will give you free admission Oct. 5 if you bring a pack of diapers.
Monetary donations can be made to the “Every Little Bottom” project at the Junior League’s website.
Like Junior League of Boca Raton Diaper Bank on Facebook.
- CHARLENE PACENTI