Sunday, May 6, 2012
Help a Mother Out: Mother's Day Call to Action
Today I was privileged to attend the Annual Help a Mother Out Mother's Day Tea in the elegant Green Room of the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center. Help a Mother Out is a nationally recognized grassroots organization that exists because every baby deserves a clean diaper. The organization raises critically needed diapers for homeless and low-income families. I learned some very startling things at the event. Some 22% of all children under five years old in the U.S. live in poverty, and one of every three families struggle to afford diapers. You can't buy diapers with food stamps or get them through WIC. This surprised me since you can buy them with FSA dollars. So if you have enough money to put into an FSA, the government gives you a break and lets you use before-tax dollars to buy them, but if you don't have money, then you can't use government aid to buy them. That makes very little sense to me.
I once heard of a mom who left her kid in a diaper all day because she didn't know you had to change the diaper every time the baby soils it. She actually thought you could use one diaper a day. That baby got diaper rash so bad that skin was falling off and the baby could not even wear diapers for a couple weeks. But there are some families that can't afford diapers so they have to leave the baby for extended periods of time in the same diaper, leading to diaper rash, staph and UTIs. I know you are thinking, "well, why doesn't that person just use cloth diapers, you just need a few and then you can wash them." But cloth diapers are not a good option for most families in need due to initial costs and access to laundry facilities. If you are living in a homeless shelter with your baby, you are not going to be able to wash cloth diapers, there is just no way. Most free/subsidized childcare programs require parents to provide disposable diapers. I learned about single moms trying to get jobs and an education to give themselves and their children a better future. They can't do that if they are worrying about diapers.
I remember once reaching into my diaper bag and finding that I had absolutely no more diapers in there. There was an initial moment of panic, until I came to the realization that I could go buy more (if you think that's weird, it's because I get all my diapers delivered through Amazon Mom (20% off) so I rarely buy diapers in an actual store). But many moms can't just go to the store and buy more. There are even moms that are forced to shoplift in order to get diapers for their babies.
This Mother's Day, consider making a donation to Help A Mother Out (see the widget on the right side of my blog) in the name of your favorite mother. It will make such a difference in the life of a struggling mother and her baby. I had a wonderful time at the tea, my table host Wendy did a fabulous job setting up our table and I enjoyed speaking with the other ladies at our table. I was able to meet up with Kim from my LA Moms Blog days and Glennia, Grace and Ana from the SF Bay blogger community. The best part was being able to enjoy the event without dirty [precious] children's hands pawing at me or my food. A great time at a great event for a great cause. Please, won't you Help A Mother Out?