PACIFIC COUNTY — A mother-daughter duo is teaming up to help parents in need.
Denise Albrecht and her daughter Emily are founders of Beach Bum Diaper Bank, a new resource for local parents. The bank will provide free diapers to local parents struggling to afford diapers.
Before moving to the Peninsula, Denise worked as a nurse at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital in Spokane.
“There, you see parents from all walks of life. There are those who are able to provide everything their child could ever want and those that struggle to make ends meet,” Denise said. “It’s the parents that are asking for the extra pack of diapers before they’re discharged from the hospital that need help meeting their needs.”
While in Spokane, she worked for Early Head Start and a local diaper bank that serves several Eastern Washington counties.
“We were able to take 20 diapers per month to our families. Sometimes that met the need to fill the gap and sometimes it didn’t,” Denise said.
Babies require up to 12 diapers per day, and toddlers up to eight, according to the National Diaper Bank Network. Families struggling to provide diapers are about 19 diapers short each month, according to the network.
“We want to be able to serve the population that really needs it. There are so many people out there who are in desperate need and don’t say anything,” Emily said. “Those are the people who we want to serve. Our main goal is to serve the people who really need it.”
The diaper shortage leads to children having to wear soiled diapers, as well as other problems. Daycares typically require at least a day’s supply of diapers, so parents experiencing a diaper shortage might have to stay home to provide childcare.
Parents facing a diaper shortage miss about four days of work each month, according to the network.
Denise and her husband John were foster parents for about 20 years. While foster parents, the couple saw a lot of families struggling to afford diapers.
“We saw the same thing; parents rationing diapers and the kids coming back from visits in really, really soiled diapers because the parents just didn’t have what they needed to be able to change their diaper while at the visits,” Denise said.
State and federal programs don’t cover diapers, resulting in more than a quarter of U.S. families having to rely on diaper banks, according to the network.
After adopting her daughter, Emily experienced the challenge of balancing diaper costs along with other responsibilities.
“I struggled a lot to be able to cover the cost of getting diapers for her, being able to work full-time, and making sure she was able to be covered in what she needed,” Emily said.
Like her parents, through working in foster care, Emily’s seen many parents also struggle to afford diapers. Whenever possible, she’s donated items to parents in need.
“No parent wants to start out with nothing when they have a child and no child should have to go through that,” Emily said. “With us being able to collect diapers around the peninsula and get the support of the community to help parents out, we’re being able to take care of those kids and help out those parents.”
At Ocean Beach Hospital’s gift shop, the diaper bank will have a permanent donation box. The diaper bank is expected to add more distribution locations in the next coming months.
In October, the diaper bank will host its first Board of Directors meeting. The group wants to add more board members to its team.
Long Beach City Councilor Kevin Cline and Danielle McCue, owner of All Seasons Resale consignment store, are working with the Albrechts as board members for the diaper bank.
“We have food banks. We have supports for people that need help paying electric, covering rent; things like that. But a lot of times, a diaper bank is forgotten about,” Cline said. “We don’t think twice about it.
Once the diaper bank’s distribution centers are confirmed, the diaper bank will provide families with a monthly ration of 20 diapers per month. Initially, diapers will be focused toward babies and toddlers. Eventually, products for older children and adults will be available.
The diaper bank will rely on community donations.
“We can’t do this without the help of the community,” Denise said. “What we can do is determined by the donations we get.”
Currently, the diaper bank can accept cash and physical donations. The group is working toward becoming a 501©3 nonprofit, so people can make tax-deductible donations to the diaper bank.
In August, the diaper bank received almost 850 diapers through a diaper drive. The group plans on hosting more diaper drives.
“We saw this need and wanted to help,” Denise said. “We’re hoping it’ll grow into something great.”