San Francisco Will Be The First In The Country To Distribute Diapers To Poor Families

Diapers are a huge expense for low-income moms.

San Francisco is known for its billionaire tech geeks, delicious burritos and the famous Golden Gate bridge, among other things. But beginning next month, San Francisco will distribute disposable diapers to poor families in an effort to address the needs of some of its most vulnerable residents. 

The city estimates spending $479,000 annually to provide diapers to families who are already receiving welfare benefits through its calWORKS program. Currently in its pilot phase (serving 257 families with a child under one years old), the program will be operating at full capacity Nov. 1 onwards. Some 1,300 families with children under three will benefit. 

In San Francisco, diapers are sold at corner stores near public housing developments for as much as as $0.50 each. For families already struggling to put dinner on the table, the luxury of fresh, clean diapers is out of reach. 

Babies use as many as 240 diapers per month, bringing the cost of one year's supply to $936. Programs that are supposed to help low-income mothers do not cover the cost of diapers or baby wipes.

According to Al Jazeera, the idea came from director of planning at the San Francisco Human Services Agency, Dan Kelly, who was inspired after hearing an NPR story about a diaper bank in Connecticut. Though there are hundreds of diaper banks across the country, San Francisco's program to provide free diapers to families is believed to be the first of its kind. 

Cover image via iStock / gpointstudio