Absorbing the burden for new mothers in Lynn

Left, Joy Richmond-Smith, site director of children, friend and family services, and Molly Wadlinger, a clinical intern, unpack diapers that will be given to those in need. (Photo by Paula Muller)

By Bridget Turcotte

LYNN — The Lynn Postpartum Depression Task Force is collecting diapers to distribute at its first diaper bank.

A diaper bank is a take on fulfilling the needs of the community, said Joy Richmond-Smith, Lynn site director for Children’s Friend and Family Services.

As many as one in three American families reports experiencing a diaper need, with disposable diapers costing about $70 to $80 per month, per baby.

“Parents report having more stress from not having diapers than not having food,” said Richmond-Smith.

The newly formed organization includes Children’s Friend and Family Services, Lynn Economic Opportunity, Aspire Developmental Services and the Lynn Community Health Center.

When diaper supplies are sparse, children sometimes are left in soiled diapers longer than they should be, she said. This can lead to rashes and other health concerns.

Richmond-Smith also cited a “trickle-down” effect. Without diapers, babies cannot attend most early childhood education centers or daycares, she said. Without childcare, parents cannot go to work.

Molly Wadlinger, clinical intern at Children’s Friend and Family, added that they can’t be obtained with food stamps.

The idea behind the initiative is to help fill in the gaps and provide information and other resources to people who need them, Richmond-Smith said.

She hopes to have enough diapers collected to bundle them into packs of 10, and hand out one to two bundles to each person.

“It’s not intended as a permanent solution,” she said, “but to help in a pinch.”

When parents come to the diaper bank for assistance, they will also be provided with information about other resources that are available to them. GroVia.com offers a three-year supply of cloth diapers for $40, with $20 returned to the buyer when they send them back, she said.

“They’re good to have as a backup,” Richmond-Smith said. “It’s good to say ‘OK, at least I have this cloth diaper supply to get me through the weekend.”

The group hasn’t decided where the diaper bank will be held but hopes to offer it one to two times per week, with the first within the next month.

Diaper donations, including already-opened packages, can be dropped off at Children’s Friend at 112 Market St., LEO at 156 Broad St. and Aspire at 275 Lafayette St. in Salem.

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at bturcotte@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.

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