Project Update: Helping Poverty-Stricken Babies in the Fox Valley

Shame. Guilt. Depression.

These are the feelings parents living in poverty are left to deal with while struggling to afford basic needs for their babies.

Among those basic needs? Diapers.

“We see women forgoing paying rent to have clean diapers,” said Beth Hudak of House of Hope in Green Bay. “The lack of access to … diapers (is) absolutely detrimental to physical well-being and emotions of families.”

House of Hope is a Diaper Drop partner with Jake’s and offers temporary shelter units where women can stay with their children while on their way towards self-sustainability. The program typically supports these with through education, access to medical and mental health services and other support programs.

Studies prove, in fact, that an inadequate supply of diapers negatively impacts the mental health of mothers living in poverty. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine examined women who reported insufficient food supply, inadequate diaper access – or both. The negative impact diaper need had on mental health equaled that of not being able to feed their children.

“An inadequate supply of diapers may negatively affect the mental health of low-income mothers by increasing parenting stress and creating a reduced sense of parenting competency,” the study concluded. “The association between diaper need and maternal mental health has important implications not only for maternal well-being but also for child development. The effect of increased maternal stress and depression on child development, the mother-child relationship, and the risk of child social, emotional, and behavioral problems are documented in the research literature.”

The majority of the participants in this study (91.9 %) reported having taken part in SNAP, TANF, or WIC. Unfortunately, these programs do not supply funding or access to diapers.

“Diaper need may contribute to maternal depressive symptoms, beyond the contribution of other forms of material hardship, because there are no supports in place to provide assistance meeting this basic need.”

At Jake’s Diapers, we work with our Diaper Drop partners, including those located in Green Bay / Fox Valley, to put those supports in place and provide that assistance in meeting basic diaper need. Your donations provide the funding needed to provide adequate diaper supplies to these local organizations serving moms and dads living in poverty, alleviating the financial burden of these items, keeping them further away from depressive symptoms and empowering them out of poverty.

If you would like to help shelters like House of Hope in Green Bay, visit our project page to make a donation.