By Sarah Bailey
Early in 2012, I responded to an email from Cotton Babies, a cloth diapering company in St. Louis. Cotton Babies was seeking volunteers to start local cloth diaper banks. A few months later, I became a Cotton Babies Share the Love Host for Huntsville, Alabama. As a Share the Love host, I serve all areas within 40 miles of Huntsville.
Share the Love is a sustainable, local cloth diaper bank. Huntsville is fortunate to have supportive and giving residents. Our bank has flourished as a result. Community members recognized the success of this bank and started another bank. Many banks struggle to get donations to meet the demand of applicants. Huntsville Share the Love is seeking applicants, and has diapers ready to loan.
As a host, I accept donations on behalf of the program and grant cloth diapers to qualifying families. As a completely cashless diaper bank, local Share the Love host sites accept the following donations:
- New or gently used cloth diapers
- Cloth diapering supplies
- Cloth baby wipes
- Wet bags
- Cloth diaper detergent
- Cloth diaper repair supplies - snaps, velcro, elastic
- 100% cotton t shirts (we sew these into diaper inserts)
- Flannel fabric or flannel blankets (to make cloth wipes)
- Empty conventional baby wipe boxes (cloth wipes are loaned out in a box)
Donations can be dropped off at A Nurturing Moment, Posh Mommy and Baby Too, or at my home. I will also pick up any donations if you are not able to drop off donations at these convenient locations. Please contact me to verify that this diaper bank can use your diapers prior to donating. Most products and brands are accepted, but there are a few exceptions according to guidelines that are being continuously updated by Cotton Babies.
Many of you may want to support this diaper bank but do not have gently used items to donate. An easy way to donate new diapers or supplies on a national level or local level is by visiting and making a purchase from the Cotton Babies Share the Love Registry. You will find a variety of cloth diapering items local banks can use. You may specify which of the banks you would like your donation to benefit.
Another way to donate to cloth diaper banks is to purchase diapers from local cloth diaper retailers. Cloud 9 are cloth diaper retailers in our area that I am familiar with. (Cloud 9 does not yet have a collection bin.) In addition, every new Cotton Babies product purchase supports the efforts of Share the Love local cloth diaper banks.Simply place your donation in the bins located at the local cloth diaper stores. A store associate will be happy to help you make a selection. A Nurturing Moment, Posh Mommy and Baby Too, and Cloud 9 are cloth diaper retailers in our area that I am familiar with. (Cloud 9 does not yet have a collection bin.) In addition, every new Cotton Babies product purchase supports the efforts of Share the Love local cloth diaper banks.
Help grow our bank by sewing or collecting supplies. Volunteers are needed to cut and/or sew cloth wipes and t-shirt cloth diaper soakers. Share the Love has provided a video with instructions for making t-shirt cloth diaper soakers. Holding a drive to collect items such as flannel or t-shirts would make a great service project for scout troops. Share the Love would be delighted to collaborate with local sewing groups from women in churches to crafting guilds.
We need help advertising. Share information about this program by posting on social media outlets or taking fliers to businesses or places families gather. Other volunteer opportunities may be available. For more information regarding volunteering, contact me via FB pm being sure to provide your email address. I will follow-up with you via a official Share the Love email.
Suds Diaper Service and Soft Bottoms Diaper Service have both graciously offered to help launder, sanitize, and prep all donations. Having the help of these professional diaper cleaners is truly wonderful and literally lightens my load.
Families qualify for a cloth diaper grant if they are receiving federal food and nutrition supplements via WIC. Huntsville has diapers ready to loan to families receiving WIC in all sizes. Each family receives 15 diaper changes made up of a variety of cloth diaper brands and types depending upon current inventory. Apply for a grant by clicking here. In addition to issuing diapers, I help families throughout their cloth diapering journey, providing washing and care instructions. When families are no longer using the diapers or children turn three years of age, the diapers are returned. Diapers are sanitized, refurbished if necessary, and issued to another family in need.
The connections I've made with the community and the families I have met via my volunteering have been phenomenal. Providing diapers in a time of need has tremendously helped families in more ways than I would have ever dreamed. One family returned the diapers after just six months as the parents were able to buy their own cloth diapers every month with the money they saved from not purchasing disposables. The diapers they returned are already on the bums of children in another family. Most of the families have given back to the program in some way.
Helping families would not be possible without our community working together. Every donation and contribution helps Share the Love help families keep the bottoms of babies dry and clean while freeing up money to use for other necessities for the family. Thank you so much for supporting Share the Love, providing our local area with resources to make things a little bit easier for struggling families.
Facts and tidbits about Cotton Babies Share the Love
Across the US, Share the Love has
- Provided diapers to more than 100 families.
- Recruited volunteer hosts in more than 100 areas of the country
As of April 1, 2014, Share the Love Huntsville Host site has . .
- Provided diapers for 9 children
- Accepted over 100 diapers as donations in the first quarter of 2014
- Shared information at over two dozen community events, including Green U, The Bake, Babypalooza, Holistic Wellness event, Rocket City Weather Fest, Rocket City Sling Swap Monthly Meetings and events (6), Cloth diaper swaps at A Nurturing Moment (4)
- Shared fliers and information in businesses including local pediatrician’s offices, WIC offices, preschools, Lowe Mill, Starbucks, Garden Cove, A Nurturing Moment, Posh Mommy and Baby Too.
- Been featured on AL.com. in the following three posts.