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04/25/2020

L.A. Times | “What if I run out?” Cost of diapers and rush to potty train strain low-income parents

Juárez counts herself luckier than most — her children attend a daycare center run by Pathways LA, a nonprofit that recently partnered with Children’s Bureau and the boutique baby company Hello Bello to distribute 56,000 diapers to families like hers.

A recent drive-through distribution event started at 7:30 a.m., half an hour ahead of schedule, because the line of cars was already looped around the block. By 10 a.m., most sizes had run out.

“They’re like gold to the families we serve,” said Norah Weinstein of Baby2Baby, a local diaper bank that has partnered with the L.A. Unified School District to provide supplies to families in need. “Parents in our program are emptying out diapers, hanging them to dry and putting them back on their babies. They’re using newspaper as a substitute for diapers, they’re not eating so they can provide diapers and food for their children.”

Baby2Baby distributes about 800,000 diapers a month. Since California’s Safer-at-Home order came down in March, they’ve handed out more than 3.6 million.

“The need in L.A. is just astronomical,” said Lisa Truong, co-founder of the Bay Area nonprofit Help a Mother Out, which runs the San Francisco Diaper Bank. “There’s a tsunami of need.”

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