How Cloth Will Help Us Through Coronavirus Pandemic

Reusable items can reduce financial strains that people living in poverty will feel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Parents strolling the baby aisle at many stores across the U.S. are running into limited options and even empty shelves as the world continues its fight against COVID-19.

This scene impacts society in many ways.

On one hand, families who can afford the extra investment have turned to cloth diapering, according to a report on The cloth diaper manufacturers were citing a 300% growth in revenue and single orders up to $1,500.

On the other hand, families who live paycheck to paycheck can’t even consider this investment nor did they have the ability to stock up in the first place – they simply didn’t have the extra budget.

We’re able to combat this struggle for some American families through our Individual Aid program, and have definitely received more requests for this types of aid.

“We are seeing an increased ask for cloth diapers, they’re flying out of here!” Executive Director Stephanie Bowers said. 

The difference between families who can purchase a brand new cloth diaper kit and those who need to rely on our resources offers just one example of how the coronavirus pandemic dually punishes the poor.

For example, many of the guidelines for preparing and avoiding the spread are things that those living in poverty can’t afford to follow, as outlined in this Time article

“The COVID-19 outbreak hasn’t caused these underlying problems, but it has highlighted the deficits within the U.S.’s fragile social safety net,” the article says. “If low-income Americans get and spread COVD-19 at a higher rate, it’s bad for everyone.”

We also know that our Diaper Drop partners around the world are increasingly affected by the global growth of the coronavirus. 

Our partners at Real Hope for Haiti (RHFH) sent a message after the government reported the first positive tests in the country, and included their center among main resources for treatment of the virus. That message included:

“Earlier this week, MSPP (Haitian Health Department) put out a 57 page contingency plan for the virus. RHFH’s Cholera Treatment Center was listed on the institutions that could provide isolation and treatment. After we became aware of this, we notified MSPP that we neither have ventilators nor the resources/ staff to adequately respond to this present crisis. As it is in every context, the situation is changing rapidly. We are doing what we know how to piece together a response and prepare as the situation remains fluid, and are waiting for further directives from MSPP.

There is a great deal of angst among all of us. This is a unique and defining time in our lives and in our world. No one knows the extent this pandemic will have medically, economically, or psychologically…in a global, national, or household context.

We know this type of preparation is vital for treating patients infected with COVID-19, as we hear stories about medical facilities asking for ventilators, manufacturers transitioning to making more and tragedies that occur when there are not enough.

And in Uganda, our partners at Ekisa prep for a lockdown as the government is establishing parameters for dealing with the start of the outbreak, there.

“A lockdown at Ekisa will mean a set group of staff would live on Ekisa’s premises, and no one would be allowed in or out,” the group sent in an email. “In anticipation of this, we had already begun to stock up on prescription medicines, food, and other supplies to support the 16 vulnerable children in our care. But with an impending lockdown, we’re in immediate need of $7,000 to stock up life-sustaining supplies for the next several months.”

The coronavirus is creating serious and immediate needs to keep many people struggling with poverty safe and healthy. Cloth diapering is a great option to reduce financial strains that will be exacerbated by the pandemic.