For the past 3 years, the first and only diaper bank in Northern Colorado, The Nappie Project, has been “helping little behinds get a little ahead” by distributing diapers to partner agencies in Larimer County.
“The mission of The Nappie Project is to ensure that children in Loveland, Fort Collins and surrounding communities have enough diapers to keep them clean, dry and healthy. The second part of our mission is to raise awareness about the impact of diaper need,” said cofounder Jan Touslee. “That is one of the most challenging aspects of our mission because there is a huge not only health impact, but financial and emotional.”
Walking into the storage area and seeing the sheer quantity of diapers really put into perspective the need for diapers in many communities. One in three families experience diaper need and there is currently no federal program that pays for diapers — even though most daycare centers require parents to provide them.
“It has a tremendous economic impact,” said Touslee. “If people can’t work, they remain on social welfare programs. If their children aren’t healthy, they may go to an ER rather than utilize a family medicine doctor. So, there is a drain on the medical system, and a drain on the social services system. If parents can’t go to training and they can’t go to school because they don’t have enough diapers, then we are having an impact on the number of well-trained employable workers.”
On average, babies can go through 12 diapers a day. The Nappie Project often hosts wrap sessions in which volunteers help package diapers in sets of 12 to prepare for delivery to distribution points. The Nappie Project distributes around 3,000 diapers every week to two different distribution points. About half way through the week they usually run out of diapers.
“I’ve had parents cry when I hand them a bundle of diapers,” said Touslee. “I’ve had parents come in and say, ‘I have enough food. I just came in for the diapers.’”
Touslee urges people to help their community by volunteering or donating diapers to help keep children clean, dry and healthy.
To find out more information about The Nappie Project or to volunteer click here.
Get Involved Colorado is a series that highlights nonprofit organizations across the state that are looking for volunteers. If you know of an organization that needs an extra set of hands and volunteers with passionate hearts, contact host/producer Karlie Huckels at firstname.lastname@example.org.