COMMUNITY DIAPER COOPERATIVE NEEDS YOUR HELP!
When COVID-19 hit, parents and grandparents at Urban Partners Los Angeles’ (UPLA) food bank in Koreatown found that diapers were fast becoming a major concern. Access to an adequate supply of diapers is vital for our kids’ health and wellbeing. Seeing our incomes and the supply of diapers in stores dwindling, we came together as an alliance of families and neighbors to do something about it!
LA Baby Cooperative/Cooperativa para Bebés de LA is an all-volunteer community response to the urgent need for diapers and infant supplies. Since March 2020, we have procured over 100,000 diapers for the community. But OUR SUPPLIES ARE RUNNING LOW!
We now struggle (together at least!) each week to gather donations of diapers and wipes. We are urgently asking for donations toward a bulk diaper purchase to get our little ones through the next few months.
* No government programs support families with the high cost of diapers – these supplies are not covered by WIC or SNAP. Diapering poses a financial hardship for 1/3 of American families, and more more of course during times of economic crisis.
* Diaper supplies cost approximately $1200 annually per child (approx $80 a month for diapers alone). With few “big box” stores in the Koreatown area, and many of our families without transportation, the cost is greater.
* Our undocumented member neighbors are fearful of accessing many services, including local diaper programs. We do not work with law enforcement agents or agencies. As a community cooperative, we’re about building trusting relationships within the community and real empowerment.
* We distribute over 4,000 diapers each Saturday morning. Approximately 100 families collect bundles of diapers and wipes from a beautiful community garden in Koreatown.
* The retail cost of the supplies we distribute is approximately $1500 per week. The breakdown: each diaper costs between 13- 23 cents (most babies need 5-10 per day) and wipes cost about 2 cents each (babies may need 32 per day).
* Like many diaper banks, we get a lot of size 1 and 2 diapers donated but our most requested sizes are 4-6 as babies stay in these diapers for much longer. This “surplus” of newborn sizes allowed us to start a new initiative (while supplies last) which we affectionately call the “Mother Load” where we deliver a larger bundle of size 1 and 2 diapers to expectant parents just before the baby is due or right after birth.
* Half of our organizing team use the diaper bank themselves. None of us are paid, and every dollar goes to diapering supplies for local kids.
* We are about families and neighbors coming together to help each other out. In addition to diapering supplies, we coordinate an infant and child “mutual aid” effort-- connecting families with extra new and lightly used items (e.g., clothing, bedding, strollers, car seats, toys etc) with those in need of them.
Over the past 4 months we’ve grown a lot, learned even more and been able to accomplish so much together. But, there’s just no getting around how expensive diapers are and donations are doubly hard to come by during this pandemic. We started by putting our heads, hearts and wallets together to solve a common problem, so we’ll just keep doing that. Please join us! No donation is too small!
Would you like to get involved in organizing? Have items to donate? Know a grant we can apply for?
Email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Photo credit: Tiffany Luong Photography www.tiffanyluong.com
More about our "parent" organization, UPLA:
Urban Partners Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3). UPLA began in 1992 when a group of community members came together to provide groceries for their neighbors during the LA riots. When the system failed us, we came together to support each other.