Being a mom can be so very hard. As a mom of two, I can tell you that one of the hardest times as a parent is when your kids are in diapers. Sure, I haven’t been through those teenage years yet (knock on wood!), but I know that for me, the newborn and toddler years were/are pretty darn difficult. I am so fortunate to have had a ton of support and cheerleaders as I dove headfirst in to motherhood, but there are so many moms out there that aren’t so lucky. One in six children in the Kansas City metro area lives in poverty, and one of the most fundamental needs that is overlooked for the kids and moms is access to diapers. Imagine choosing between diapers and paying your electric bill. Or putting gas in your car. Clean, dry diapers are important to the health and well-being of growing babies. It’s not uncommon for babies to be left in a diaper for an entire day (or longer) or for parents to re-use a disposable diaper, leading to possible urinary tract or skin infections. There is also an increased risk of child abuse when parents and caregivers lack a supply of clean diapers. Without regular changing, dirty diapers can be a source for the outbreak of viral meningitis, dysentery and Hepatitis A throughout the community.
This is where the fantastic non-profit HappyBottoms comes in! HappyBottoms is the only diaper drive in Kansas City, and provides free diapers to an estimated 1000 children every month. I was unaware that diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps or through the WIC program, two main monetary resources for those below poverty level in our community. So for some families, buying fresh diapers just isn’t an option. Isn’t that insane?! I can’t imagine not being able to change my baby’s diaper as he wailed and fussed because I didn’t have a new one to put on him. And the stress that a crying baby puts on a new mom, especially one who is already dealing with the daily stress of living under the poverty line, must be horrific.
HappyBottoms works with 18 partner agencies throughout our community to distribute diapers to those who need it most, but the demand far outweighs what they can currently provide. I was able to visit HappyBottoms’ headquarters and warehouse and was so inspired by everyone I met. Diapers are collected via donation, either through diaper drives, corporate donations or private giving. HappyBottoms takes any new diaper, even if the package has already been opened, and repackages them to deliver to their partner agencies. So if you’ve still got an extra pack of diapers in the house after your youngest was potty trained, you can drop if off at any of their donation locations, regardless of if you already opened the package. Pretty cool, right?!
Another way you can contribute to HappyBottoms is monetarily. Currently, HappyBottoms is partnering with Huggies, who is providing a number of diapers to the organization. They also hope to have several more large donations this year, in order to serve our community. But to do this, they need certain things. More warehouse space! A delivery truck! Staff! A new computer system to track the huge numbers of diapers that will hopefully be coming through the door! So to do that, they are doing some big fundraisers this year, including the upcoming “Make a Difference for Mother’s Day” campaign.
Are you looking for a special way to honor your mom this Mother’s Day? Why not donate to HappyBottoms in her honor?! Head over to the HappyBottoms website to donate, and HappyBottoms will recognize your mom on their Honor Roll on their site and Facebook page. They will also send you a certificate that you can present to your mom. Your donation will directly impact moms and babies in our area that need our help! Or, if you’d like to donate diapers directly, HappyBottoms is creating a REALLY BIG Diaper Drive in honor of Mother’s Day. They have joined with Price Chopper to hold a diaper drive from Friday, May 10th from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday May 11th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at four Price Chopper locations in the metro area (click here for participating locations). And don’t forget, they take open diaper packages too!
I love Kansas City. This community is a giving one, and people here really do what they can to help others in need. I hope you join me in supporting HappyBottoms this Mother’s Day! Let’s help provide life, liberty, and diapers for all!
For more information on HappyBottoms, please visit www.happybottoms.org or click here. Special thanks to HappyBottoms Board President, Liz Sutherlin, for showing me around HappyBottoms HQ!