Wondering what to do with your beloved cloth diapers after your baby has potty trained? If you don’t plan on having more kids, you have options. Many families cut up their old diapers as rags for cleaning. If you have diapers that have life left in them, you can either give them to a friend or sell them. But, there’s another option you might not have considered. Your diapers can keep on doing their job and help families in need when you donate them to a cloth diaper bank like Share the Love.
Share the Love is a national cloth diaper bank. It was founded in 2012 by Cotton Babies CEO, Jennifer Labit. Jenn started this cloth diaper bank because she knew the tremendous impact of donated cloth diapers had for her own family. Volunteers, called Hosts, donate their time to collect diapers from people in their community. They then wash the diapers, repair, if needed, and give diaper loans to families in need. These hosts dedicate precious space in their own homes to be available to help a family in need. Disposable diapers, on average, cost about $1200 per year. So the initial cost of full-time cloth diapering is a real bargain. You spend money once and have diapers until potty training and many use the same diapers for multiple children! However, that initial cost can be insurmountable to many families who are already choosing between food, medicine, bills and diapers.
How to donate your diapers
To donate new or used cloth diapers, send an email and mention your zip code or city and state where you live. We try to find a host site within a reasonable distance. When possible, your diapers stay and help people in your own community. That’s beautiful. If a host nearby does not exist, donations can also be mailed. We have a list of hosts in need of supplies who have shared their addresses to accept donations if someone would be willing to mail donations. Donations can also be mailed to the Cotton Babies warehouse.
Most hosts have young families themselves. Many of our hosts do not sew or have time to repair diapers. If you have the time or skill to help repair diapers donated, that would be an invaluable benefit to any host. We have had a couple of ladies offer to have a sewing party where they get together with their friends and they spend part of their time together replacing elastic or velcro on diapers that are otherwise in good shape, but need minor repairs to be fully usable. What a wonderful way to spend a day visiting with friends and knowing you are helping babies in need.
How to get diapers from Share the Love
To apply to receive a diaper loan, please visit Share the Love. Follow the link in “My family needs diapers”. Part of the application process is to send an email telling why your family needs diapers. Tell us how the diapers would help your family. The application is not complete and can not be processed if this email is not sent. We then will do our best to find a host site close to your location. If there is a host site close, we will pass on your application to that host to process the application to determine eligibility.
There is no cost to approved families. Share the Love relies on cloth diaper donations from caring people who support our mission to end poverty and diaper need in our communities. All diapers distributed through this program are loaned to qualified families for an extended amount of time.
Every application submitted to Share the Love is carefully considered, and diapers are distributed on a case-by-case basis to eligible families.
Become a Share the Love host
Our hosts are truly the heart of the program. This whole program is available to help families in need because of the sacrifice of time and space the hosts share with each family they help. Many hosts choose to open a site when their own children are done with their diapers. By being a volunteer host they are truly “Sharing the Love” to families in need.
Hosts not only collect, wash and distribute diapers. The hosts meet with each family, personally, and teaches the family about the diapers they are receiving as a loan. They teach how to use the diapers, how to wash them, and how to adjust the size of the diapers as the baby grows.
Sadly, stretches of the US with no hosts exist. It is truly heartbreaking when I have to tell a family there are no hosts in their state or the closest host is 5 hours away. Despite that, there are families who drive quite distance to receive the invaluable benefit of a diaper loan. If you would be interested in being a Share the Love host please apply.
Why it matters
The impact of the program is vast. Too many families struggle to buy diapers for their babies. Many families are choosing between food, medications and diapers. Diapers are not funded by any of the assistance programs offered by the government.
We’ve heard many stories from families about life before their diaper loan. Some people “air out” diapers and reuse them with masking or duct tape to hold them on. We also had a family who was homeless and had no regular place to call home. The mother was able to nurse her baby, and through a Share the Love donation, she was able to cloth diaper her baby with waterproof diaper covers and flat diapers. They are both washable, easily, in a sink, anywhere, and both air dry quickly. Imagine the peace of mind it gave this mother when everything was up in the air, for her and her baby, she had the most basic necessities covered. That’s powerful.
Creator of the Share the Love Cloth Diaper Bank wrote: “Imagine what when a baby has enough diapers.” It really struck me how having enough diapers can improve many aspects of a family’s life.