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Groups help provide parents with diapers

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ATLANTA -

The tough economy may be taking a very personal toll the families of infants and toddlers. A new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that many financially-strapped mothers can't afford enough diapers for their children. 

On the surface, diapers may not seem like a big deal but it's health issue and a financial one.

To get to work, many parents rely on daycare. To get their baby in daycare, they need disposable diapers.

Most daycares don't accept cloth ones. That's why diaper banks are opening across metro Atlanta to help parents take care of their babies.

For Stephanie Curry baby number three, Quentiana, is her lucky charm.

"I have a 13-year-old daughter, a 10-year-old son, and a beautiful 9-month-old baby," said Curry.

Stephanie was a teen mom with her first two, living with her parents who helped her out. She's now a single mom working as a daycare teacher and she pays the bills.

"She's going to have to have diapers, I'm going to have to go to work to make sure she has them, as well as, doctors' appointments, shots and medicine that's needed," said Curry.

The diapers alone add up to close to $100 a month, and they're not covered by the federal food assistance programs, which leaves a lot of financially struggling parents running short.

Elise and Hershell Tolson run Premier Preschool Academy in Austell.

"One of our major concerns is that when a child is not changed regularly, that can cause all kinds of problems," said Elise Tolson.

They ask parents to supply their child with enough diapers for a week, which is about 30.
 
"We did have a few issues where children would come to us in the morning, their diapers were soaking wet, and the teachers would let Mr. Tolson and me know, 'Something is going on here.  This child needs some help,'" said Tolson.

New research shows almost a third of lower-income mothers feel they don't have enough diapers for their children. Psychologist Wendy Dickinson of Grow Therapy says that's tough on moms and dads.

"Parents have a hard-wired desire to provide for their child's basic needs, things like food, clothing, shelter, diapers," said Dickinson. "And when they can't do that, they experience negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness and a sense of failure."

The Tolsons were using their own money to buy extra diapers for parents who couldn't afford them when they were contacted by the Atlanta Diaper Relief Program.

"We just couldn't believe it because nothing is free in this world," said Elise.

But these diapers are free.  Premier receives about 2,000 to 3,000 a month to stock their shelves and send them home with families.

"Ever since then, we have not had an issue with any of the children running out of diapers," said Elise Tolson.

Premier is just one of a handful of diaper banks across metro Atlanta, and Stephanie is grateful for the help.      

"It's very important. Because the thing is, if you can't provide for your children, who else can," Curry said.

If you need diapers for your child, contact http://atlantadiaperrelief.org/how-to-get-diapers or  
http://thediaperbankofgreateratlanta.org/

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