AUSTIN (KXAN) — Inside the Austin Diaper Bank, all the shelves but one are filled. The shelf which is normally packed with newborn diapers is empty.
“Newborn right now is the one that is being most requested that we are unable to fill,” said Holly McDaniel, executive director of the Austin Diaper Bank. “There is a newborn, a little tiny baby, who’s going to bed at night in a wet diaper, or a T-shirt or a diaper that has been hung out to dry.”
McDaniel says summers are usually slower when it comes to donations. She said that the diaper bank takes diapers from the community, repacks them into packs of 25 and then gives them to agencies helping families in need. Each pack is what a child will go through in about a week.
“We distribute diapers to a lot of preschools around Austin and Central Texas. And some of those preschools close for the summer,” McDaniel said. “You also see an uptick in need for diapers in the summer because kids are home from school. And so parents have more child care costs. Expenses go up.”
The Austin Diaper Bank supports more than 5,000 families in Central Texas every year. The organization gets requests for about 75,000 diapers a month, but over the summer they can only fill about 50,000 requests.
Besides newborn diapers and wipes, there is also a need for sizes 5, 6 and 7 diapers. McDaniel said a lot of times families will put a larger size diaper on the baby hoping they can wear it longer.
Eleven months ago, Hurricane Harvey raised awareness of the Diaper Bank. More than a million diapers were donated and that put a spotlight on them and increased demand for their help.
The Diaper Bank said even if you have open packs of diapers, they’ll take them. McDaniel said diaper drives — much like a food drive — are a big help. In addition, donations including items on the organization’s Amazon wish list can help them meet community needs.
The diaper bank doesn’t give out diapers to families from their warehouse. Instead, the organization works with a number of agencies to provide diapers for those who need them. These agencies include women’s shelters, Meals on Wheels and United Way.