If you haven’t heard about it yet, Share the Love is a nation-wide cloth diaper bank for families in need. It’s sponsored by Cottonbabies, makers of bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum. Local volunteer hosts help facilitate the process– from collecting diaper donations to educating recipient families about how to use them.
I first found out about Share the Love when this big basket appeared at Sweetbottoms last fall. It was quickly overflowing with donations from our generous customers!
Melanie is the local host for our area, so I asked her to write a guest post so we could learn more about the program and how to get involved. If you’re local, make sure to stop by and see her at the Great Cloth Diaper Change. She will be taking donations and all who give will be entered to win a special raffle.
Share the Love:
Cloth diaper bank run by volunteer moms provides diapers for families in need
Did you know that one in three families is choosing between disposable diapers and essentials like food, utilities, or childcare? Share the Love is a cloth diaper bank that helps families in need by loaning them cloth diapers.
What kind of donations do you accept?
Share the Love accepts all cloth diapers, plus diapering supplies and materials that can be turned into diapers:
- Cloth diapers (in need of repairs is okay as long as the PUL is intact)
- Wet bags
- Cloth wipes
- Snappi or safety pins
- Supplies for making diapers (PUL, elastic, hook & loop, etc)
- Receiving blankets, baby washcloths, flannel sheets/shirts (these get turned into wipes)
- Sewing supplies: polyester thread, machine needles, snap pliers
- Wool sweaters (at least 95% wool), which can be turned into awesome covers
If you have diapers to loan but aren’t sure if they are acceptable, please go ahead and donate them and let the host decide. The hosts in this program are very creative, and have managed to revive diapers that seemed beyond repair.
What kind of repairs do you do?
When I first became a host I spent a lot of time repairing diapers. Most of the diapers I receive are well loved (and that’s okay!), so I replaced shot elastic, fixed broken snaps, and sewed on new hook & loop. It’s really important to me that families have a positive experience with cloth diapering, and that means rehabilitating many of the diapers.
These repairs quickly became more than I could handle, especially with my second child due to arrive soon. I finally found some wonderful volunteers to help me with the repairs. These fine ladies have taken a great burden off my shoulders and put dozens of diapers back where they belong – on the bum!
What is it like to be a host?
I am the host for the Raleigh, NC area, and I help families who live within a 40 mile radius. I collect diaper donations, loan them to qualified families, and provide education on how to use and care for the diapers. I also sanitize the diapers, repair them if needed, and spread the word about the program.
Here’s how a normal application proceeds: A mom applies through our website. If she meets our criteria and I have diapers to loan, I approve her. I learn more about her needs and try to pick diapers that will best suit her situation. Then, we arrange a meeting at a public location. I like to meet at Sweetbottoms since it is the Cloth Diaper Holy Land 😉 We go over all of the items I’m loaning and how to use and care for them. Meeting at Sweetbottoms is great because I can show the mom other things that may help her, like flushable liners and cloth-safe diaper cream. Once baby potty trains, the family returns the diapers and they are loaned to a new family.
How did you become a host? What do you like about it?
When I was pregnant with my first child I became a little obsessed with cloth diapers. My husband actually made a “diaper timeout” rule, in which I wasn’t allowed to talk about all of the research I had done that day. (I’m surprised he didn’t have an intervention.) After my son was born and life became less crazy, I wanted to devote some time to community service. I learned about this program and it instantly resonated with me. I have been a host for 9 months and have enjoyed every minute of it. (Well…doing extra laundry isn’t always fun, but that’s okay.) I love meeting the applicants and being able to help them. Each family has a unique story and situation. Some families just need help making ends meet, but others are seriously struggling. For them, receiving diapers means more food on the table or running their heater during this horrible winter.
Being a host has also restored my faith in community. Sounds corny, but it’s true. Every time I’ve needed something, I have received help as soon as I reached out. I have been astonished by the generosity and tenacity of some of the ladies who help me find donations and repair them. Their efforts have allowed me to help at least two times as many families as I could have on my own.
How can I help?
Thanks for asking! First, check Share the Love’s website to see if there is a host site near you. Even if you don’t have diapers to donate, hosts may need help repairing diapers, making them, laundering donations, and a variety of other needs. If you don’t live near a host site, would you consider mailing a donation? Or would you be interested in becoming a host? To get in touch with us about any of these options, please click the Give Diapers link on our website.
Donate to enter our raffle!
Sweetbottoms has generously donated a Bumgenius 4.0 diaper in the beautiful new Hummingbird color for our raffle. Thank you, Sweetbottoms!
To enter the raffle, donate at Sweetbottoms’ Great Cloth Diaper Change event. I’ll have a table set up with a Share the Love sign. Comes see me! Everyone who donates will automatically be entered in the raffle (one entry per person). You can donate diapers or any of the supplies mentioned above. I will randomly select a winner on April 26, 2014.
You can also donate by buying a diaper on sweetbottomsbaby.com and listing which item(s) to donate in the checkout notes (please state that the items are for Share the Love).
I need diapers. How do I apply?
Applicants must live within 40 miles of a host site and be enrolled in WIC. Check out Share the Love’s website to see if there is a site near you. If there is, click the link on the page to apply. You’ll fill out a short questionnaire telling us about your situation and write a two paragraph essay explaining how the program would impact your family. (You can apply if you are pregnant.) If you are approved, you will need to provide a photo ID and proof of WIC when you meet the host to receive the diapers. We cannot ship diapers.
Thanks so much for all your hard work, Melanie! This is such a great opportunity to get involved in the community! It’s so wonderful to see cloth diapers and materials being to expertly reused and recycled. Disposables don’t stand a chance!