Humboldt General Hospital’s Mother and Baby Unit collected nearly 5,000 infant diapers and adult disposable underwear in April—a feat that nurses say was only possible through the overwhelming generosity of hospital employees and the community.
“We were just blown away,” said Monica Sartor, RN, who spearheaded the first-annual effort. “When we set a goal to collect 5,000 diapers, I don’t think we had really thought about how many packages of diapers that would truly be—and our staff and our community really came through.”
Sartor said she and other local OB nurses decided to host a diaper drive after seeing first-hand the struggles—especially financial—of new parents.
Sartor said being a new parent is hard. It is especially so for the poor or homeless.
“Clean, dry diapers are a health issue,” said Sartor, “but they are so expensive.”
Sartor said nearly 1 in 3 American families cannot afford diapers. Babies and adults who remain too long in a soiled diaper are exposed to potential health risks.
Most child centers (even free and subsidized facilities) require parents to provide a day’s supply of disposable diapers (12 for infants and up to eight for toddlers); however, a recent study conducted by the National Diaper Bank Network and Huggies found that parents who struggle with diaper need miss an average of four work days a month because they cannot afford the $70 to $80 to purchase diapers.
But April’s effort will help ease local families’ struggles. In all, the diaper drive netted 4,805 diapers, including 753 adult underwear. Of those, Humboldt General Hospital staff members donated 3,022 diapers, while the community donated 1,783 diapers.
Not surprisingly, the OB nurses won an in-house contest at the hospital by donating a whopping total of 1,629 diapers; the Emergency Department and HGH AirOne flight crew were next with a total of 895 diapers.
“We are so thankful for everyone’s support and donations,” said Maternity/Neonatal Services Manager Lorrie Meiron. “We fell a little shy of our goal, but we had a lot of diapers to disperse in the community.”
All adult underwear was donated to the Humboldt Volunteer Hospice for distribution to this community’s chronically and terminally ill residents.
Infant and toddler diapers were donated to the local WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) office, Winnemucca Domestic Violence Services, and the Frontier Community Action Agency—all of which will then distribute to local residents in need.
Sartor said the entire effort was very gratifying and HGH’s OB nurses are brainstorming ideas for how to make the drive even bigger in spring 2020.
“I just loved that we came together as a hospital and a community to support the well-being of these families,” she said. “All babies and seniors deserve to be clean and dry every day.”