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Monday, August 10, 2015

National Diaper Bank Network

I think it's fairly well known that there is such a thing as a food bank/pantry etc... When it comes to locating additional resources for families and/or individuals in need there is an organization called the National Diaper Bank Network which is based in New Haven Connecticut.Executive Director and Huffington Post contributor Diane Goldblum spoke with me about her work with the NDBN.

What are your thoughts on why food pantries that have clothing and various other products such as medicine and home goods may not carry much by way of baby products?
"I think there are a couple of reasons, often they're dealing with donated products and so there are a lot more clothes and home goods that people replace regularly. Baby goods are very closely monitored and changed frequently, even cribs we used when my son was a baby are no longer acceptable by modern safety standards so there a lot of legal issues."

How did you come to find out about the National Diaper BankNetwork?
"I am the founder and Executive Director. About 10 years ago I started the New Haven Diaper Bank. In New Haven CT, I saw parents who had to keep their children in a diaper for more than a day.
I saw a level of poverty in my neighborhood that was really just untenable."

What kinds of factors do you feel should be taken into consideration while putting together ideas about creating assistance programs that are sustainable with or without grants?
"I think that there is a great deal you can do in a community without significant financial support. There are a lot of small organizations that take in used goods and redistribute them and that can be done in your house. When you get to a certain tipping point;then you need money. It's a matter of finding in your community individuals who have some money who want to support what your doing."

Any thoughts on patterns that are found in rural areas measured against urban areas?
It is, "harder for people in rural areas because transportation is such an issue; services are spread out."

This may seem like an obvious question.Why don't hospitals have some kind of public health mandate to provide such an essential item?
"Hospitals sort of generally speaking don't have mandates; they come from insurance regulations or public health regulations.Diapers are not included in any insurance formula.Food stamps for example is purely a nutritional program so they don't pay for hygenie products. Insurance, when you look at the basis for what it is supposed to be, it's for emergency situations;hospitals providediapers if children are in patients."

What can people do to empower those in need of these services?
"I don't consider giving people diapers a band-aid or a handout, I think that parenting is incredibly difficult, it's incredibly difficult with resources and support.Without those things we take away from the child's potential. When you reach out to a child you are reaching out to two generations.The mother child bond is increased when a mother or parent is able to have that really positive interaction with their child.
I have a social worker background. I  have always felt like there is a huge disparity in income and in what's available to people and how much that really impacts this next generation. I grew up in a very left of liberal household."


On the National Diaper Bank Network website they have a feature on the left hand side of the home page called Find a Diaper Bank. There are listings on the site in various locations such as Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee,Michigan, Colorado, Washington, DC, New Jersey,Arizona, Florida etc...

I am always interested in learning more about public health, and now consider this to be a public health issue. Certainly, in order to have a thoughtful conversation about issues such as quality of life for young families overall and access to diapers and other hygiene products in particular, it makes sense to cultivate an awareness of how public health is tied to other social topics such as cost of living as well as access to gainful employment as well as being able to earn a living wage. I usually keep my posts centered around facts and the direct personal experiences of those I interview. That being said I welcome comments about the issue of fair wages.

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