Giving Diapers, Giving Hope Story As told by Kristen McCarthy, Founder
I always knew that cloth diapering my children would save me money but I never realized how important saving money was going to be for me. In only a few short months, I had gotten pregnant with my second child, found out I would be laid off of my teaching job at the end of the school year, broke up with my children’s father, lost my house due to not being able to afford the mortgage, and was forced to move out of state to live with my parents. I thought that I was having a difficult financial time then, but December (2010) my unemployment ran out and I still hadn’t found a job yet. Due to technicalities with the house I owned, I wasn’t even eligible for welfare and still wasn’t receiving any child support from my ex. I literally had NO money coming in. It was devastating. As I was carrying on with my day to day life caring for my children, I realized it was time to wash the diapers. I was throwing my cloth diapers into the washing machine and then thought to myself
Thank goodness I cloth diaper because if I didn’t I wouldn’t even know how I could buy my children diapers!
Then I started to think, what WOULD other people do if they were in a similar situation and DIDN’T cloth diaper? How would they diaper their children? There are no federally funded programs that provide diapers or help with diapering costs for low income families.
About a week or so later I encountered an article talking about how many low income families are struggling to diaper their children due to financial reasons, so they are leaving their children in the diapers longer than they should, or they are rinsing out the disposable diapers and putting them back on their babies. This is an awful thought because it isn’t healthy for the babies to be exposed to their own excrement for too long, or to be exposed to the harsh chemicals in disposable diapers.
This all lead me to start a non-profit foundation called “Giving Diapers, Giving Hope”, which lends cloth diapers to low income families to help lessen the burden of diapering their babies and hopefully put the money they save towards bills, food and clothing. I run this organization with a close friend, Emily Glover, who is just as passionate about the cause.
We founded GDGH in April 2011 and we are excited about all of the families we have been able to help, just through donations alone. We have gotten a good amount of donations, but we obviously are still needing more so we can help as many families as possible. Along with providing diapers to needy families, we are also providing cloth diapering education and support for the duration of the family borrowing the diapers. Our hope is that it is as positive experience as possible for each family. We are also going to try to provide them with as many cloth diapering accessories as possible, such as wetbags, snappi’s, cloth diaper detergent, etc.
This is a really exciting project for me because it obviously hits very close to home. I am aware that some of the people we are helping might be in a better financial situation than I am, but there are many ways we can be struggling. Even though I am still struggling financially, having the Giving Diapers, Giving Hope Foundation has given me so much hope, regardless of my financial situation and I hope that by helping out other struggling families and by alleviating some of their financial stress, this will provide them with hope as well.
Update- As of 2014 Kristen McCarthy is still heavily involved with Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. She has been working for almost 2 years now at a Boston area high school teaching art, graphic design, and photography. Things have been going better and will hopefully continue to do so.