Grandmothers On A Mission To Help Needy Babies; National Diaper Bank Network Recognizes Diaper Need Awareness Week

Aug 28, 2013, 14:47 ET from National Diaper Bank Network

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Grandparents Day is Sunday, Sept. 8, the first day of Diaper Need Awareness Week. This story focuses on grandmothers helping babies stay dry when parents cannot afford diapers.

Cher Leadbeater was holding her granddaughter when a story came on the news about children sitting in wet, soiled diapers because their parents could not afford to change them. "It was like a knife through my heart," remembers Leadbeater. "I knew I could not sleep until I did something."

She helped establish The Greater Hampton Roads VA Diaper Bank in Virginia Beach. She's one of a number of grandparents who have come out of retirement to keep babies clean, dry and healthy.

A recent study in Pediatrics showed that nearly 30 percent of low-income mothers cannot afford an adequate supply of diapers. Diaper banks – which operate like food banks – are opening to meet that need.

After 25 years as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry, Liz Sutherlin retired and planned on spending time volunteering. Happy Bottoms, a Kansas City, MO diaper bank was looking for a new leader and Sutherlin was recruited. "You've got the wrong person," she insisted.

As she learned about the need, however, her opinion changed. "You have some very innocent victims of this gap in the safety net," she says.

Pat Kennedy was about to turn 60 and mulling retirement. "I'm going to be a grandmother for the second time. Why not free myself up?" she thought.

She read an article about National Diaper Bank Network founder Joanne Goldblum and could not stop thinking about it. She founded the Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank.

Though the diaper bank mainly distributes through agencies, sometimes social workers call Kennedy directly. "How can you say no?" she asks. She drove to New Jersey to help a disabled mother of three, who literally dragged herself to the door.

"Every week, I feel like I don't know where I'm going to get the next diaper, but then you see somebody like that," she says.

"What I see in Cher, Liz and Pat is what I see in diaper bank leaders everywhere: a passion to give children in need a better chance," says Goldblum. The National Diaper Bank Network supports diaper banks through large diaper donations, technical assistance and awareness activities.

Contact Colleen Shaddox 203-508-0879

SOURCE National Diaper Bank Network