By Kelly Youngblood
As the mother of twins, Margie Carter has always advocated for cloth diapers.
Now she’s hoping to help other moms see the benefits as a local host for a national cloth diaper bank known as Share the Love.
Share the Love is dedicated to supplying families in need with enough cloth diapers to last until a child is potty trained. To qualify for the reusable diaper loan program, participants must receive some type of state assistance.
Share the Love was created by Jenn Labit, CEO of Cotton Babies, after a 2010 survey conducted by Huggies revealed 1 in 3 families have to choose between buying disposable diapers and essentials like food and utilities.
The national program operates with the help of local hosts. Carter, who began running her site out of Tuscola last August, says she has provided cloth diapers to families living in the surrounding area such as Decatur, Arthur, Champaign and Peoria
Carter said she decided to apply to be a host for Share the Love because of the impact she believes this program can have on a community.
“To some families, the savings (from using cloth diapers) could mean less debt, healthier food options, better daycare arrangements, or even a regular date night for mom and dad!” she said.
Carter’s twins are almost 3 and potty trained during the day. Since the birth of her children, Carter estimates she’s spent almost $900 on cloth diapers. That amount is significantly less than the $2,500 she would have expected to pay had she used only disposable diapers.
Carter said many people tried to talk her out of cloth diapering with “horror stories” about rashes and getting poked with pins, but she says she didn’t experience any of that. She also noted there was no noticeable difference in her water bill.
“Cloth really is an option; a modern and adorable one at that,” Carter said.
Carter said Share the Love stays local, as all donations stay in the area and are used to assist local families. If the child outgrows the diapers or the style of cloth diapers doesn’t work for them they can freely exchange them with the site for others, provided supplies are available.
To apply for Share the Love, families can visit cottonbabieslove.com and click on “My family needs diapers” to complete a simple and quick application process that involves one short essay about their need for the program. Families will then be contacted by the closest host to arrange a meeting to deliver the diapers.
There are many ways you can help Share the Love. You could donate cloth diapers or supplies for repairs such as quarter-inch elastics, sewing machines, sewing needles and thread.
Carter said any absorbent material can be used as a cloth diaper so old cotton t-shirts and cotton receiving blankets can be used to make diaper inserts. There is also a gift registry on Cottonbabies.com under “Share the Love” with general items that the program could use. Donors can specify the location they would like to help.
Share the Love is not a 501c3 organization, so donations cannot be claimed on taxes. The program also does not take monetary donations. To donate, one only needs to email email@example.com and include location and the items to be donated. The local host will be in contact to arrange a meeting.