Cloth Diapering Babies in Bulk

Having a baby, no matter how much you’ve prepared, how perfect your nursery is, or how much you’ve studied, can be a nerve-wracking thing.  You can cram for having a baby like you’re getting ready to present your dissertation for an advanced degree, but once that baby is in your arms, it’s a whole new ballgame.  Now multiply that by four.

That’s right.  Four.  As in quadruplets.

When we discuss the accomplishments of Cloth for a Cause, we typically focus on the number of families helped.  Sometimes, though, those families have more than one that will be in cloth.  Sometimes (more commonly) that family has a baby and a toddler still in diapers.  Every now and again, though, we get the opportunity to help and meet families that are just amazing.  There’s a family with two sets of twins that will be getting a stash from us.  There will also be a family with quadruplets.

Wow.

That’s a lot of babies.

I’ve cloth diapered more than one, myself, and can honestly say that it’s really no harder to use cloth on two than it is on one.  It just means doing laundry more frequently… and having a big enough stash that will allow for me to let clean diapers sit in the laundry room for a few days before I get a few moments to stuff the pockets.  Still, though, to build a stash large enough to allow for the diapering of four babies can be expensive, time consuming, and a bit daunting of a prospect.  (But, really, it’s still far less intimidating than the approximately $8,000 per year price tag associated with using disposable diapers on four babies.)

This is where Cloth for a Cause comes in: 0ur Southern Ontario chapter is going to be sending diapers for those babies.  Those parents will not have to clear out the shelves at the warehouse store for disposable diapers, nor will they have to request a second garbage can from the city.  We’ll give those parents the support that they need so that they can be successful with cloth diapering their babies.  Sure, there will be a lot of laundry, but with four babies, there’s going to be a lot of laundry.  An extra load or two a day at this point will not make a difference.

However, trying to load four children up to go to the store to make an emergency diaper run for yet another case of diapers will make a huge difference on that family’s sanity.

How can you help?  Aside from offering another pair of arms, continuing to support Cloth for a Cause is a great way.  Your donations (of both cash and diapers) make it possible for us to help families like these save money and save the environment.  This week, your shopping at Funky Fluff’s website is another fabulous way to help.  They’ll be donating 10% of their web sales to Cloth for a Cause so that we can get more babies in cloth and less diapers in the landfill.  And that is just awesome.

What are some ideas that you have for cloth diapering babies in bulk?

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Providing Freedom and Safety

We all are familiar with the story: a brave woman was willing to put up with the domestic abuse she lived with… but when that abuse was turned on her children, she slipped out and took nothing more than the babies and the clothes on their backs.  She’s fortunate enough to have been able to find a domestic abuse shelter to stay until she and her chldren can get on their feet.  The shelter has a bed and some clothes.  It’s a chance for them to start a new life without fear.

One of those brave women had a friend who contacted our organization.  After much reaching out to organizations all over the province, that friend came up fairly empty.  She managed to gather fifteen disposable diapers.  Any parent knows that fifteen disposable diapers will not last long.  Not at all.  This was a very, very small bandaid, but not one that would relieve the mother of wondering where the next diaper would come from.  That mother knew that uing cloth diapers would provide her that freedom.  She wanted to use cloth diapers so that she would never, ever have to worry about buying that next pack of diapers.

They reached out to Cloth for a Cause.  Sarah, the president of our Barrie chapter in Ontario, put together a diaper package for this woman.  Sarah sent some size appropriate clothes, too.

This loan gave this mom a chance to be free.  She managed to free herself and her children from a pattern of abuse.  She’s managing to free herself from having to worry where the next diaper will come from for her baby.  That’s taken care of.  She has diapers all the time, no matter what.  She has the beginnings of security in her temporary lodgings.  She has safety.

This is what your donations do.  They provide women who have nothing and nowhere a chance to start anew in a life that will keep them all safe.

This week, there are a couple more options than the usual “please send us diapers, accessories, and cash” requests.  (Those are always nice, too, however.)  By making a purchase at the Funky Fluff website, you’ll help us and get some fun fluff for your baby at the same time.  Funky Fluff is donating 10% of their websales to Cloth for a Cause.

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Nova Scotia In Need

Since the Nova Scotia chapter opened a few months ago, I’ve seen a massive amount of applications come through.  At first I figured that it was because they were servicing an entire province.  Then I realized that, well, Nova Scotia just isn’t all that large.  There’s a huge need out there, and the lovely ladies of that chapter are working hard to fullfill it.

I’ve never been that far east.  I’ve never been more east than GTA.  (I’m from Florida.  Surprisingly enough, it’s nearly due south from Ontario.)  Since I’d never been to Nova Scotia, I had to ask the lovely ladies out there just why the need for cloth diaper assistance was so high out there.  I got an answer.

Nova Scotia is a province that flourished initially because of its vast natural resources.  Fisheries and pulp mills have been huge industries out there.  Unfortunately, those industries are in decline.  (We’re feeling the pinch of pulp mill closures out here in BC, too.)  Not only are those high paying jobs in resource industries leaving, government offices are also closing.  It’s a tough job market in Nova Scotia.  To make it even harder, while jobs are short, cost of living is high.  It’s particularly high in the Halifax region metropolitan area (or HRM).  When you combine intergenerational poverty with those other factors, that significantly increases the need for support.

To date, Nova Scotia has helped nearly 60 families since February of this year.  That’s 60 families that no longer have to choose between food and diapers.  That’s 60 families that are able to preserve their monetary resources and use that money for other needs.  More applications come in daily.

Without our corporate sponsors like Funky Fluff, we would be lost.  We rely 100% on donations and fundraisers to help these families.  Instead of giving these families a monthly handout, we help them keep their dignity by giving them a hand up that is sustainable.

There are a few ways that you can help.  One is to contact your local chapter to see about donating diapers.  Another is by sending a tax deductable donation to the Nova Scotia chapter.  A third way (that is also fun for you!) is to visit Funky Fluff’s website and buy yourself something cute for your baby’s bum.  10% of those proceeds will go to fund Cloth for a Cause this week!

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Special Diapers for Special Needs

Quite often, when a family has a child with special needs, they’ll have a need for cloth diapers that lasts far beyond the infant and toddler years.  It’s hard.  It’s expensive.  Sometimes a parent will give up a career to be a full-time caregiver.  Or worst of all, sometimes there will be only one parent in the picture at all.

When there’s only one parent and there’s a child with special needs, it’s nearly a sentence to poverty.  That parent will give up everything to stay home and give his or her child the love and care that the child needs.  Love and care are amazing.  They can make the difference in how a child with special needs develops.  It can be the difference between a paraplegic child thriving and a paraplegic child surviving.  It’s important.  Sometimes it’s downright crucial.

There’s only one problem: that love and that care do not pay the bills.  That love and that care does not pay rent or buy groceries.  That love and that care does not buy the diapers that the child with special needs has to have.  This is where Cloth for a Cause comes into play.

Disposable diapers for a child with special needs are cripplingly expensive.  I went searching out of curiosity for this… and I found that they were one to two dollars per diaper depending on where you bought them and what size package you bought.  Medical coverage does not include these diapers.  For an impoverished family on assistance, that’s just not sustainable.  We ease that burden.

Since we rarely see diapers for children over forty pounds in our donations, we have to get creative.  When I went out to McLeod Lake and found that some of the families out there did have larger than average children, I put out a call for help to my community that was quickly answered.  We will sometimes use our fundraising proceeds to purchase low cost cloth diapers diapers to help families with children with special needs.  It’s a need that must be filled, and we are proud to do that.

Can you imagine what a relief it must be to that mother?  She has all of these burdens to struggle with, and her situation will continue on indefinitely.  To know that one thing that she will not have to worry about is how she will provide diapers for her child is a weight off of her shoulders.  It’s one less concern that she has to focus on… and that gives her the freedom to provide the love and care her child needs with just a bit less cause for sleepless nights.

This week, Funky Fluff is helping us help those families.  When you shop at their website, 10% of their sales will be donated to Cloth for a Cause.  We can help those struggling families gain a little extra peace of mind.  That’s priceless.

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Easing Burdens in Outlying Areas

It’s tough living in a rural area.  I thought that it was tough living thirty minutes from a store when I was growing up.  When I went out to McLeod Lake to deliver diapers, I learned that there were places far more isolated than where I grew up… which was a whole thirty minutes outside of a major metropolitan area.  I learned that there are challenges that go far beyond lack of access to a 7-Eleven.

McLeod Lake is a very small settlement north of Prince George.  It’s roughly 45 minutes away to the next town… which is still painfully small.  When we were first invited to go, I had no idea what to expect.  All that I knew was that it was north of Prince George (which I consider to be the edge of the universe).  I knew that it was essentially a “diaper desert”: diapers in that area are extremely expensive due to how isolated they are.  I talked to Nicole, the services worker in that area, and sort of researched my trip to the reserve like I was a foreign exchange student preparing to go.  I tried my best to learn enough to not accidentally offend through ignorance.  I asked questions.  I did my best to prepare for the trip.

We made the trip out and were amazed.  It was far more desolate than I’d anticipated: we drove through a little village that seemed to have about four buildings off of the highway.  For over an hour, we had no cell signal.  The area was beautiful as it was isolated: we saw bears, moose, deer, and beautiful rock formations.  I came to understand a bit more about the challenges as we drove along.  The ride was freeing: miles of open road ahead of us.  Sometimes we would go miles before seeing a passing vehicle.  In the warmth of the summer, it was heaven.  In the barren whiteness of winter, however, it would seem isolating.

When we made it out to the reserve, I met some amazing women.  They were beautiful, friendly, and charming.  They had pride in who they are and were proud of their culture and heritage.  In spite of the poverty that can be devastating on reserves, the reserve was a beautiful place filled with proud and strong people.  They wanted a way to avoid making the trip to town for things like diapers and formula.  Making the trip to Prince George was an all-day event.  Making the trip to Mackenzie, while quicker, had higher prices due to the lack of competition and isolation.

Cloth for a Cause provided diaper stashes to the families who applied.  Because of the help of our cloth diapering community in Prince George, in a matter of two hours after I put out the request, I was able to obtain diapers in larger sizes to meet the needs of those families.  I spent two days in a constant state of amazement: I was moved to tears by the generosity of spirit of the ladies of Prince George.  I was awestruck by how the families of McLeod Lake managed to survive and thrive in spite of the challenges that they experience due to location, poverty, and other aspects that can cause families to struggle.

It’s a privilege to go out to these outlying communities to offer assistance.  I’m looking forward to doing so again.  And it’s not possible without the help of our volunteers and our donors.

If you’re wondering how you can help, you can donate financial assistance to a chapter or to the organization… or you can shop at Funky Fluffy.

How will you help relieve poverty in your area?

This post has been brought to you by Funky Fluff!  You can help support Cloth for a Cause this week by shopping at the Funky Fluff website.

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