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RBC I For many families in Rio Blanco County, paying monthly bills is complicated by another expense: diapers. With the cost of keeping one child in clean, dry diapers ranging upward of $100 per month, the expense is a hardship for one in three American families, according to many “diaper bank” service organizations.
By means of a month-long diaper drive in April, the Meeker and Rangely branches of New Eden Pregnancy Care Services plan to help with that need.
“Diapers are the number one thing requested by women coming to the center,” Meeker New Eden center director Krystal Dunton said. “Since we run on donations, we just don’t have the money to buy diapers. We actually turn a lot of girls down who need them.”
More than 500 women came through Meeker’s center last year, Dunton said, and of those who requested diapers, only 58 received help. That diapers don’t qualify as purchases under Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or food stamp programs further limits the help families receive.
To bridge the gap, some families wash, dry, and reuse disposable diapers or keep their children in soiled diapers longer than they should be, Dunton said.
“It’s not that they’re not good parents. They want to be good parents,” Dunton said. “It’s that they don’t really have other resources.”
New Eden helps by supplying families with small packages of diapers to get them through short periods of time. The organization bundles them by the dozen, then keeps track of how many are given out, what sizes are taken, and who’s using them.
“Even if we can give families a dozen diapers to get by until payday, it’s a huge help,” Dunton said. “They’re very appreciative.”
New Eden’s approach is not only to be there in a pinch but to show women what other services are offered.
“We’re here to support people during tough times and be advocates for them,” Dunton said. “We don’t just want to hand them diapers. We want to help them better their situations.”
That can mean volunteers attending doctor’s appointments with expectant moms, connecting families with other resources like local food banks, or helping women apply for grant money to earn their GEDs or college degrees.
But while New Eden’s long-term goal is healthier families, April’s focus is healthier babies. Donation bins for diapers and wipes are set up at Watt’s Ranch Market in Meeker and White River Market and the Family Dollar in Rangely, along with bins at several area churches. The centers accept all brands and sizes of diapers, though sizes two and up are used most quickly.
Rangely center fundraising coordinator Julie Noyes said that for women coming to a New Eden center for the first time, it’s the small things that can make a difference.
“There’s nothing like this being provided right now,” Noyes said. “If a woman is faced with the unexpected, it’s a comfort to know at least that need is met for her baby. It’s one less thing to worry about.”