Working Together to Address the Diaper Gap

Last December, a young mother from Illinois wrote to me with a plea for help. Even after dropping out of school and taking a part-time job to provide for her family, she still struggled to make ends meet, in part because of the cost of diapers for her newborn baby.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a parent that has to choose between diapers and other basic expenses. Access to clean diapers isn’t just important for a child’s health and safety. Research has shown that mothers who are unable to afford diapers for their babies are more likely to suffer from maternal depression and mental health issues.

No mother or father should have to worry about keeping their baby clean and healthy because they can’t afford diapers. America’s parents — and children — deserve better. That’s why, in addition to addressing the diaper gap in my budget, I challenged the private sector to apply their expertise and innovative thinking toward creating a solution for families that cannot afford diapers.

On this Mother’s Day, I’m pleased to share an update on these efforts. Over 740 nonprofit locations across the country have been accepted into the Community Diaper Program — an innovative partnership between an e-commerce company, a diaper manufacturer, and local non-profits that helps provide free diapers to low-income families. Along with this partnership, several American businesses answered the White House’s call to action in and donated over three million diapers to diaper banks that serve low-income families in March. And today, I’m happy to announce that more businesses have joined in this effort, adding over one million more donated diapers to that total.

That’s millions of more diapers for low-income families. That’s more babies who are being kept clean, healthy, and safe. That’s more parents — and more moms on this Mother’s Day — who can go to sleep at night, confident that they’re meeting one of their child’s most fundamental needs. That’s an example of how the government can collaborate with the private sector to address common challenges together.

It’s inspiring, but not at all surprising, to see everyday Americans mobilize their communities to help families who are in need. From a youth church group in Texas to a Kiwanis Club in Indiana, citizens across the country are organizing diaper drives. My staff joined in too, holding one here at the White House last Friday.

This is what we can achieve when we work together. Whether a Republican or Democrat, in the private sector or in public service, we all have a role to play in keeping our families and communities strong. So today, in addition to saying thank you to all the mothers out there — looking at you, Michelle! — I want to recognize all the companies, nonprofits, community organizations, and American citizens that have banded together to address the diaper gap.

There’s a lot more work to do, and because this is an important issue for dads too, I hope to report more progress by Father’s Day. But I’m proud to say that we’re off to a great start.

Happy Mother’s Day!