Motherhood comes with so many strong emotions. Joy, fear, excitement, exhaustion, and most importantly an overwhelming sense of love. It also comes with a lot of new gear. Diapers, diaper bags wipes, clothes, bibs, pacifiers, bottles, pumps and on and on. I never realized how much stuff a baby needed! My first outing felt like I prepared for hours. All for a 30-minute adventure. The anxiety of making sure I had absolutely everything my girl would need was almost strong enough to make me stay home.
My big concern was making sure I had enough diapers. Would I have enough diapers to be ready for any possible situation? A blow out? A leaky diaper? I probably packed 20 diapers that first trip. We didn’t change her diaper once in that 30 min, so I was clearly over prepared. At the time, little did I know, how blessed I was to be able to pack 20 diapers for 30-minute trip.
As a social worker and a new mom, I quickly learned a stat I can never forget. One in 3 moms have to choose between diapers and food for their baby. That is astounding. How did I not know this as a social worker? What were these mother’s doing to keep their babies dry? Well, they were washing out disposable diapers. They were using plastic grocery bags. Or other really tough options I could never imagine. Incredibly resourceful and loving mothers were finding a way to go without diapers. This is what we now know as Diaper Need. A lack of adequate supply of diapers.
They have to go without because there are no public assistance programs that allow for the purchase of diapers. WIC and Food Stamps don’t allow for the purchase of diapers. They are listed as a luxury item. Imagine, a diaper a luxury. If you’ve ever changed a diaper, you know this isn’t even close to a luxury. Did you know without an adequate supply of diapers you can’t attend childcare? Without childcare, you can’t work. Diaper need is a real social issue facing so many families living in poverty, preventing them from moving forward.
Fast forward 7 years and a colleague and I decided enough was enough. Something had to be done to help these mothers. That’s how Helping Mamas was born in 2014. We are the baby supply bank of metro Atlanta. Providing essential baby items to organizations serving women and children in need. The most requested item is diapers. In three years, we have donated over 400,000 diapers to babies living in poverty. We serve over 6,000 individuals year.
During the week of September 25th-October 1st, 2017, we will raise awareness about families experiencing diaper need and try to collect as many diapers as possible! If you are interested in learning how you can donate diapers or other essential baby items, visit the Helping Mamas website.
No matter our circumstances or background we all of love our new babies. Helping Mamas knows, every mama needs a little help and has a little help to give.
Jamie Lackey is a working mother of two children ages 11 and 7. She is an Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 17 years of experience in social work and nonprofit management. Jamie has worked in leadership roles in health care and nonprofit organizations. She is the co-founder and CEO of Helping Mamas, a nonprofit that collects and donates baby supplies to organizations who serve women and children in need. Jamie is a native of Knoxville, TN and has lived in Snellville, GA with her husband and family since moving to GA in 2000.