Diaper Bank:

Local woman joins program to help others experience the benefits of cloth diapers

Michella Dey photo

The Share the Love program coordinates a nationwide network of volunteer hosts who collect doantions of diapers from their communities and allows them to loan diapers to qualified recipients. Glendive residents recently became a host for the program.

A local woman, sold on the value of reusable cloth diapers, is starting a cloth diaper bank to help other mothers experience the benefits she enjoys.

Using cloth diapers can save a family up to $60 a month, Michella Dey explained. The same diaper can be used for a baby weighing 8 pounds or one weighing 35 pounds. Babies don’t outgrow them. They are great for sensitive skin, are an eco-friendly option and are really cute.

Dey has used cloth diapers for each of her three children and is always eager to share experiences and learn new tips. Some time ago, while looking into good deals for buying diapers in larger quantities, she stumbled across the Cotton Babies website and saw information on the “Share the Love” program, she said.

The program coordinates a nationwide network of volunteer hosts who collect donations of diapers from their communities and then loan diapers to qualified recipients. The recipients return the diapers on their child’s third birthday so they can be loaned to someone else, Dey explained.

Intrigued by the program, she filled out a form from the website saying she was interested in being a host. She received an invitation to apply, filled out the application and began the process toward acceptance which included supplying references and undergoing a telephone interview, she said.

Now that she has been accepted as a host, Dey is looking for mothers who want to receive a pack of 15 cloth diapers and also for people who want to donate to the program. Cash donations are not allowed but she welcomes donations of diapers, laundry detergent, receiving blankets, t-shirts, baby wash cloths or wet bags.

Applications for a loan from the cloth diaper bank can be made by going to cottonbabieslove.com cottonbabieslove.com and clicking on the “My family needs diapers” link. To be eligible for a loan, applicants must be enrolled in a public assistance program such as WIC or TANF. A photo ID is also required, she said.

When applicants are approved for a loan, the company will pass the information on to Dey who will contact the applicants and arrange to deliver the package of diapers. Along with providing the loan, Dey is also available to answer questions and provide support for anyone who has not used cloth diapers and has questions.

Some common misconceptions of cloth diapers are that they are gross, smelly, ugly, entail more work and the upfront cost is too expensive, Dey said.

In reality, today’s cloth diapers come in a variety of options, save money, prevent landfill waste, avoid multiple trips to buy disposable diapers, avoid harmful chemicals found in disposables, help prevent diaper rash, prevent leaks and blowouts, and are easy to put on.

“It is easier to just have them on hand. It’s more convenient. It saves money and I’m doing a million loads of laundry anyway,” Dey said, explaining that washing diapers is not that much extra work.

The cloth diaper bank has established quality regulations for the diapers available for loan. Most diapers made in China are not compliant. Successful applicants for the loan program know they will receive high quality diapers, Dey noted.

Cloth diapers come in a variety of styles. They can be covers or shells with inserts, a pocket type, or an all in one type. Insert options can be made from microfiber, hemp, bamboo or charcoals, but cotton flour sack towels, cotton flats, cotton prefolds, cut up cotton t-shirts, or cotton receiving blankets can also be used.

Although Dey has only recently been accepted as a host, she has already received one donation of diapers. Her mother saw a listing of diapers for sale on a local website and suggested she contact the seller. She did, and, much to her delight, the seller decided to donate the diapers rather than selling them, she said.

Others who want to donate to the program are encouraged to contact Dey by phone at 406-941-3327 or by email at michelladey11@gmail.com. If no local requests are received, the donations will be sent to fill requests at another location, she said.

Dey is also posting information about the program at various places around town such as Action for Eastern Montana, Head Start and the Glendive Public Library. She encourages anyone interested to check out the program and apply for a loan.

Reach Cindy Mullet at crmullet@midrivers.com