BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s first diaper bank received a huge boost this weekend.
The new non-profit is raising awareness about families struggling to afford enough diapers to keep their baby clean and healthy.
The idea for the Hawaii Diaper Bank started with Big Island resident Jessica Histo.
She was looking for a place to donate her son’s unused diapers and ended up organizing donation drives during National Diaper Need Awareness Week in 2016 and 2017.
This past May, with the help of two other volunteer board members, she created the non-profit to help families in need.
“Diapers are a necessity but there’s no federal aid for it. Food stamps doesn’t cover it, WIC doesn’t cover it,” Jessica Histo said.
Diaper costs can quickly add up, especially for families unable to buy in bulk.
“They estimate that diapers can cost up to $1,000 a year,” Histo said.
Some parents stretch the time between diaper changes to conserve their limited supplies, but that could lead to health problems such as diaper rash or other infections.
The diaper bank held a fundraiser this weekend in Waimea on Hawaii Island.
With donations of money, diapers and wipes, the non-profit will be able to assist more families so they won’t have to make painful choices.
“I can’t imagine having to look at your child and go, ‘Ok, we’re going to keep you in this a little longer because we don’t have any more,’” Histo added. “It really kind of breaks my heart.”
The Hawaii Diaper Bank supplies Neighborhood Place of Kona, which provides services to low-income families.
“Sometimes like an unexpected bill or financial burden is placed on the family and all of a sudden, all of their resources are gone, and they’re having to choose between buying groceries or paying their electric bill and buying diapers,” Histo said.
Nearly all other states have at least one diaper bank. Histo hopes to one day expand the Hawaii one beyond the Big Island.