How cloth diapers can change a life, promote confidence in parents

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Sarah Hall knows what it's like to feel desperate. As a low-income mom going through a divorce, she realized she didn't have enough money for diapers.

"I was working full time and it wasn't enough," Hall said, "[So] I took my last $50 and invested in cloth diapers and we didn't look back."

Hall wound up cloth diapering three of her four children and now advocates for the method.

"Being able to cloth diaper gave me the independence to not need to rely on disposable diapers and charity and churches," Hall explained. "It made me self-sufficient and independent."

That's the message Hall wants other low-income families, in particular, to hear as The Great Diaper Drive campaign ramps up.

Local non-profits tell WHNT News 19 and Rocket City Mom they see the most demand for disposable diapers and wipes. It's the reason we joined with community partners to establish The Diaper Bank at The Food Bank of North Alabama -- a first-ever bank for disposables in the Tennessee Valley.

For some families though, cloth can be the superior option. Donations of cloth diapers are being accepted during this year's Diaper Drive and will once again benefit the North Alabama Cloth Diaper Bank.

Hall actually helped found that bank several years ago. She was determined to help other struggling moms diaper their children successfully; to achieve the same peace of mind she did.

Margaret Harmon, who's served as coordinator for the NACDB, said one of the big misconceptions is that cloth is too complicated. That those without a washer or dryer can never make it work.

"When a lot of people think of cloth diapers they think of pins and rubber pants," Harmon said. "It's not that way anymore."

In fact, retailers like A Nurturing Moment in Huntsville offer a variety of colors and styles; different price points as well. While cloth diapers can be more expensive up front, they can offer significant cost savings in the long run.

Moms who lack the resources to invest initially don't have to go without, though. Harmon said any parent can apply for a "loan" of diapers from NACDB; they just need to fill out an application explaining their financial circumstances. Click here to do that.

"You just keep em as long as you need, whether it's through potty training or until you get your own stash," Harmon emphasized. "Then you just donate 'em back."

Applicants concerned about how to use cloth can attend free twice-monthly classes at A Nurturing Moment. There are also a number of local groups active on social media, answering questions 24-7.

If you'd like to give cloth as part of The Great Diaper Drive, just drop your donation at any of our participating Walmart locations. Or join us for our big Blitz Day push Thursday, Sept. 29th. Here are the details on that event. We'll be live all day... so come out and meet our own Michelle Stark and help the cause!