Online retailers, diaper manufacturers and non-profits are partnering to expand access to diapers for families in need.
This morning, the Obama administration announced a new initiative designed to address the high cost of diapers for low income parents. In a blog – “The Diaper Divide” – Obama’s Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz lays out the cost burden for the lowest-income quintile of families with infants, identifying diaper costs as equal to 14 percent of their income; an average of $936 for diapers per child each year.
“These struggling families may not have access to transportation to the big box store, the credit or capital to buy in bulk at cheaper prices, or the access to internet or ability to receive packages required for online subscription services,” says Muñoz. “The technology that makes life easier for so many of us just doesn’t provide the necessary supports for these families.”
To address this issue, the President’s budget calls for a $10 million investment to test effective ways to get diapers to families in need, and document the health gains that result. An initial solution is comprised of a collaborative effort by e-commerce retailer Jet and First Quality, the makers of Cutie brand diapers.
According to the White House, Jet has volunteered to address storage and shipping challenges by leveraging their nationwide warehouses and logistics network to assist nonprofits in purchasing and receiving diaper orders (typically) within two days, for free. They also committed to sell these diapers with no profit to 501(c)(3) organizations serving families in need. First Quality will design a new type of packaging, simpler than their market model, with less colored printing and more efficient packing — cutting the cost of manufacturing Cuties, a savings that they can then pass along to non-profits.
The effort will be dubbed “the Community Diaper Program,” and it launches today, available to any 501(c)(3) organization in the United States. Says the White House, “Now, any non-profit (whether or not they currently provide diapers to families they serve) will able to purchase diapers as much as 25 percent cheaper than the current available price, with no minimum order and 48 hour shipping.”
Additionally, Huggies brand has announced the donation of 22 million free Huggies diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) in response to President Obama's call for companies to bring even more attention to diaper need in America.
"We want every baby to grow up healthy and feel comfortable, safe and secure," says Giusy Buonfantino, president of Kimberly-Clark baby and child care North America. “We are pleased to see the issue is receiving national attention from the White House and will continue to do our part as a leader in the effort to combat diaper need."