Need for diaper donations increases 200% during pandemic

Anyone who has never had to buy diapers may not appreciate how expensive they can be. It can cost families $80 a month to diaper one child for a month.

Recently, a man went into a Winter Haven Walmart to pick up a package of diapers, but none of the four bank cards he brought worked at the register. So, police say, he walked out with the diapers without paying for them.

"Is he a criminal?" we asked Amy Haile, the CEO of Champions for Children, an agency that provides free diapers to families in need.

"No," she responded. "He appears to be very stressed out, doing the best thing that he could for his family."

Champions for Children gets its diapers from the Junior League of Tampa, which gives away 10,000 diapers a month for distribution to those who need the help.

"There are no government safety net dollars for diapers," explained Caroline Foss, who is integrally involved in the Junior League’s Diaper Bank. "WIC, SNAP do not cover diapers."

Foss says the need has always been phenomenal and has increased 200% since the beginning of the pandemic because so many people lost their jobs.

A number of other organizations are trying to pick up the slack.

Sharon Lyles knows what it is like to be down to your last diaper and not have the money to buy more.

"If you can imagine looking into your baby’s eyes, not knowing where you are going to get another diaper from, it was just a lot of pain and agony," she told FOX 13.

So Lyles founded the Central Florida Diaper Bank, which operates out of Orlando, to help people avoid what she went through.

If you need diapers and you are in Hillsborough County, you can call Champions for Children at 813-673-4646.

If you want to help others in your area who need diapers, contact your local Junior League to see if they have a diaper bank.