Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Food vs. Diapers

Philly has a diaper bank. Yes, a diaper bank.

Food vs. Diapers


File this under "hardships I hadn't thought of before."

Poor parents routinely must choose between feeding buying food for their families or buying diapers for their babies, according to The Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank - a nonprofit that collects diapers and distributes them to homeless shelters, food pantries, family service agencies and faith-based organizations.

So the PDB is singing the praises iof diaper-maker Huggies, which announced today that the company's charitable campaign Every Little Bottom will donate 100,000 diapers to the Bank. 

The donation is part of Huggies' "12 Days of Thanks" cross-country tour organized to launch the National Diaper Bank Network, described as "the first national nonprofit dedicated to helping raise awareness of diaper need, support diaper banks and close the diaper gap in America. 

The "diaper gap." Gosh, that's depressing.

From the bank's press release:

"Unfortunately in this poor economy, the need for diaper providers such as The Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank is growing.  Diapering a child is expensive, and food assistance programs such as food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants and Children) do not cover diapers. 

"Diaper makers estimate that it costs parents $1,500 a year to diaper a child with disposable diapers, and cloth diapers require access to laundry facilities, while most Laundromats do not allow patrons to use their machines to wash diapers. 

"Most child care facilities require a days worth of disposable diapers, and when parents run out of diapers, they are forced to withdraw their children from child care.  In a 2010 survey, 34 percent of respondents had cut back on food, utilities, or child care to buy diapers."

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When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.

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