What Can You do to Help With the Diaper Disparity in Kansas City

As a new parent, there are many things you have to consider (and if you’re like me, overthink) when it comes to caring for your baby. Between feeding, sleeping, bathing and nurturing (and more of course), your hands, heart and mind are kept so busy! But a good busy. A happy busy. A warm-your-heart, butterflies-in-your-tummy busy. Having a new baby is one of the sweetest joys there is in this world. It can also be one of the most difficult experiences. Because along with having this sweet, adorable, needy, tiny human to take care of, everyday life still goes on and then there are still groceries to buy, cars that need fuel, doctor appointments to make and go to, bills to pay, diapers to buy.

Oh, diapers.

It seems like such a waste to spend so much money on a piece of fancy paper and tissue that’s essentially for the purpose of catching a baby’s poop. But I think we can all agree that it is definitely a necessity! For the majority of families, providing diapers for their baby isn’t a question. It’s just something added to the list of things to pick up from the store and then bought without a second thought.

But notice I said the majority of families?

Yes, there are some who do question whether they can buy diapers. They don’t only have second thoughts on buying a pack of diapers, they have third, fourth and fifth thoughts on it! Many times, diapers aren’t only not changed often, disposable diapers are reused! You don’t have to be an expert on babies or hygiene to know that this is far from ideal. This practice can and does lead to skin and urinary tract infections.

Besides the obvious physical impact this has on babies, mothers who experience this lack of such a basic necessity are also twice as likely to report having depression and other mental health issues. This is a scary and overwhelming cycle. Because mothers who struggle with providing diapers = increased risk of mental health issues = increased risk of childhood development issues, and even abuse and neglect. Until a few months ago, I had no idea that this was a problem that families faced right here in my own community!

But how many families am I talking about here? How common is this problem, really? I’m glad you asked! Because one in every three families struggle to buy diapers for their babies and toddlers.

One. In. Three.

In case you’re sitting at the back and you didn’t hear me – For every 3 families with a child in diapers, 1 of them can’t afford them consistently.

So, say you’re standing in the diaper aisle trying to remember what size your baby wears and 2 other parents join you in that aisle – statistically speaking, one of you standing there isn’t trying to remember the right size for your baby. One of you standing there is trying to decide whether to buy diapers or a few essential groceries to last until the next paycheck. Diapers or food. Diapers or rent. Diapers or medicine.

And before you ask “What about programs like WIC or SNAP?” or incredulously exclaim “Surely there’s some kind of assistance!” Let me save you the trouble. No. These programs do not offer assistance, and there are no programs that offer assistance. This is a problem for parents and caretakers to solve on their own.

For 1 in 3 families, it is a harsh reality.

Enter: No Child Wet Behind

No Child Wet Behind is a not for profit organization which was started by a doula agency in New York. Each year 20+ doula agencies around the US host a 5k/Family Fun Run in the month of May to raise money and diapers to benefit families in their cities.

So what does all this mean to you?

If you’ve read this far, then it’s probably safe to say that you want me to get to the part where I tell you that there’s something you can do to help! And there absolutely is!

Kansas City Doulas is hosting our inaugural No Child Wet Behind event on May 13th at Shawnee Mission Park! This event includes a 5k and a 1 mile Family Fun Run – your entire family can participate together! This is going to be a family-friendly event that will feature a wide array of vendors, face painting for the kids, a mobile sensory bus by the wonderful people at We Rock the Spectrum and a pancake breakfast prepared by Chris Cakes.

Beside the race and all of the awesome additions to the event, we are also running a diaper drive between now and May 9th! We have approximately 30 locations all over the Kansas City area where you can take newly purchased and even opened packages of diapers to donate to this cause (Look for the bright pink box)! And of course, we couldn’t do any of this without our amazing sponsor: New Birth Company!

On May 13th, after the race, we will be presenting all of the proceeds from the race, as well as all of the diapers collected from the drive to Happy Bottoms in Lenexa, KS. Happy Bottoms is a local charity that works to provide diapers for families right here in the Kansas City area. In 2016, they distributed 1.78 MILLION diapers to 8,677 children locally!

Our goal for this event is to raise 45,000 diapers! That seems like a daunting task, but with so many pitching in to make a difference, I’m sure that we can reach it! With 45,000 diapers, Happy Bottoms would be able to provide diapers to 75 children for a full year. You will directly be helping 75 babies and toddlers stay clean and healthy for a whole year! High five to you!!

What if you can’t make it to the event and want to make a donation?

Heidi Shulista, owner of Kansas City Doulas and coordinator of this event, has set up a baby registry on Amazon.com for this exact purpose! Here’s how:

  • Go to Amazon.com
  • Click on the top tab for Gift Cards & Registry
  • Click on the Baby Registry Box
  • Enter [email protected] into the search box
  • The registry is under “Heidi Shulista”
  • Choose the diapers you wish to purchase
  • Click on the yellow “Proceed to Checkout” button under your cart
  • Change the address to “Kansas City Doulas ℅ No Child Wet Behind’s Gift Registry Address”  
  • Continue in your purchase as usual.
  • Done! Your donation will make it to Happy Bottoms via Kansas City Doulas!

Please join us on May 13th as a runner, volunteer or sponsor and help us make a difference in Kansas City! To register as a runner or volunteer visit KansasCityDoulas.com/nochildwetbehind. We’ll see you there!!

Authored by: Mary Pope, labor and postpartum and infant care doula


Heidi ShulistaWhat Can You do to Help With the Diaper Disparity in Kansas City

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