Austin Diaper Bank

Nonprofit provides diapers for children and seniors

In May of 2013, Beverly Hamilton stumbled upon an article detailing how many poor moms struggle to afford the cost of keeping their kids in diapers. The article, written by the director of the National Diaper Bank Network, struck a chord with Beverly. Though she’d never heard of a diaper bank, she had a one-year-old infant and knew the importance of keeping babies in clean diapers.

Eager to volunteer a helping hand, she Googled “local diaper banks” but was amazed to find that while the need was very real, no local diaper banks existed. Undaunted, she decided to create one herself.

“Austin Diaper Bank started out of my house in a spare bedroom,” Beverly recalls. Just under a year later, she opened the first ADB public bank in a 400-square-foot space. ADB has since upgraded its space twice and is now housed in a 1,700-square-foot warehouse.

With adult diapers at a market value of 75 cents each and children’s diapering needs ranging from $800 to $1,000 a year—an average of 50 diapers used per month—Austin Diaper Bank is helping to bridge the gap between those who need diapers but cannot afford them and those who are readily able to afford them. To date, Austin Diaper Bank has provided more than 350,000 diapers to children and senior citizens in the five-county area it serves.

The nonprofit is operated much like a traditional food bank, where partner nonprofits place orders and the “bank” fulfills them. This allows Austin Diaper Bank to provide a single service while referring clients to more encompassing nonprofits that can assist with satellite forms of assistance such as fulfilling needs for formula, baby clothes, parenting classes, and payment for utilities.

Partnering with other nonprofits also allows clients to seek help in their own community without having to drive—or take several buses—to claim diapers. In Georgetown, for example, Austin Diaper Bank works with three partnering nonprofits: Bluebonnet Trails Community Services, The Caring Place, and Hill Country Ministries.

When receiving diapers from Austin Diaper Bank, clients are asked to fill out a short intake survey detailing how they managed to care for their young children before they received diapers from the nonprofit. The stories range from stealing napkins at fast-food restaurants for use as diaper liners; to cutting up old shirts; to staying home from work because they didn’t have enough diapers to take their kids to daycare.

“It’s a cause helping those who are least mobile in our community. Babies and often seniors—particularly seniors who are home-bound or already have cognitive loss—those are the people in our community who can’t advocate for themselves,” says Beverly. “They’re the ones who we, as able-bodies adults, have a responsibility to take care of.”


For more information on the Austin Diaper Bank, including opportunities to volunteer, donate or receive diapers, visit www.austindiapers.org.


Read the article that started it all at www.cnn.com/2013/05/10/opinion/goldblum-diapers.


A Related Need: Breast Milk

Because premature and ill infants are 10 times more likely to develop intestinal infections if they are fed formula instead of human breast milk, two neonatologists—Dr. Sonny Rivera and Dr. George Sharpe—founded Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin in 1999 to provide these babies with human breast milk donations. Eligible donors may donate extra milk to be screened, processed and pasteurized, tested, and then administered to recipients in need. The Georgetown breast milk drop-off location is at St. David’s Georgetown Hospital. To become a Milk Bank recipient or donor, visit the nonprofit’s website.

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