Community Project Spotlight: Diaper Cooperative

In recent weeks, parts of south Louisiana, including the greater Baton Rouge area, were devastated by historic, unprecedented flooding. Thousands of homes were destroyed and thousands of families in our community were displaced. In the weeks that have followed this natural disaster, one of the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s newest community projects, the Diaper Cooperative, has been working overtime to ensure infants in our community continue to have access to diapers, wipes, and formula. This week’s blog post highlights the Diaper Cooperative and includes a quick and easy Cinnamon Apples baby food recipe that you can make at home!

Junior League of Baton Rouge members receiving a large donation of diapers, wipes, and formula from the Junior League of New Orleans. All My Sons Moving and Storage helped deliver these items to the Cortana storefront, where JLBR members helped distribute items to families in need.

Junior League of Baton Rouge members receiving a large donation of diapers, wipes, and formula from the Junior League of New Orleans. All My Sons Moving and Storage helped deliver these items to the Cortana storefront, where JLBR members helped distribute items to families in need.

About the JLBR Diaper Cooperative

During a baby’s first year, families can expect to change approximately 2,500 dirty diapers! The cost of disposable diapers can run at least $600 per year, not including the cost of wipes and diaper creams. While using cloth diapers can save a considerable amount of money, they present a much larger up-front expense. Given the high costs of caring for such a basic need for infants, many people are surprised to learn that diapers are one of the few items not covered by WIC or Food Stamps, making it extremely challenging for low-income families to afford and access clean diapers.

The impact of this problem goes far deeper than you might imagine. Improper diapering can lead to painful diaper rashes and urinary tract infections, which can eventually lead to fever, jaundice, and even renal failure. Poor diapering also contributes to the spread of infectious diseases like Hepatitis A and viral meningitis. Treatment of these infections requires doctor visits and medical care, adding additional expenses to families already struggling to make ends meet. Additionally, sick children or children whose families cannot afford sufficient diapers cannot attend daycare, compounding the economic issues faced by these families by making it even more difficult for family members, particularly single mothers, to continue working.

In 2014, after learning of the long-lasting impact on families and communities that something as small as diaper need can have, Junior League member Eunice McCarney launched the Diaper Project Planning and Implementation Committee and led a team of seven League members to investigate, research, and plan the existence of a significant diaper need in the Baton Rouge community. After spending the year interviewing local community agencies and organizations, looking at the statistics, reaching out to other Junior League chapters around the country, learning that there is only one Diaper Bank in Louisiana (and none in East Baton Rouge Parish!), the JLBR Diaper Cooperative Committee was born.

JLBR President Kathy Victorian with JLBR member Quanda Charles delivering diapers to the Jewel J. Newman Community Center.

JLBR President Kathy Victorian with JLBR member Quanda Charles delivering diapers to the Jewel J. Newman Community Center.

In the short amount of time that the Diaper Cooperative Committee has been in existence, the Committee has already had a significant and meaningful impact in the Baton Rouge area, organizing and implementing multiple diaper drives over the course of the last year and collecting thousands of diapers to distribute to low-income families in our community. More recently, in the wake of the historic flooding that has devastated the area, the Junior League of Baton Rouge has distributed over 150,000 diapers to relief agencies and shelters in our community.

How You Can Help

To learn more about this issue and how you can get involved, donate diapers, or make a monetary contribution, please visit the Junior League of Baton Rouge website. You can also search for diaper banks in your area or learn about starting a diaper bank in your community on the National Diaper Bank Network website.

JLBR Members working to distribute diapers to families in need following the historic flooding in south Louisiana.

JLBR Members working to distribute diapers to families in need following the historic flooding in south Louisiana.

Introducing Your Littlest Family Member to the World of Food

In addition to proper diapering, another major key to keeping your baby healthy, of course, is proper nutrition! Making your own baby food at home is a great way to introduce your child to the love of cooking and healthy eating at an early age. Additionally, it allows you to use fresh, local, organic ingredients in your baby’s diet. If you are interested in making your own baby food, this easy Cinnamon Apples baby food recipe from the food blog My Diary of Us by Leigh Ann Chatagnier is a great place to start!

Leigh Ann, a Houston resident with Louisiana ties, is a food enthusiast, photographer, and stylist who recently had her first baby. Once her son Parks was old enough to begin trying solid foods, she was excited to begin “exploring the world of food with him.” Leigh Ann recommends starting simple at the beginning stages so that your baby can gradually adjust to eating solid foods. The first recipe she tried was a classic – cinnamon apples. “One of the best first fruits to introduce is apples and adding a little cinnamon just gives babies a little something extra to help develop their palettes.” Check out Leigh Ann’s original post here!

Cinnamon Apple Recipe – My Diary of Us

Cinnamon+Apples-Baby+Food-+My+Diary+of+Us 3

Photo by Leigh Ann Chatagnier.

Ingredients:

  • 6 organic Apples
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of water
Photo by Leigh Ann Chatagnier.

Photo by Leigh Ann Chatagnier.

Directions:

Peel and core apples.  (Leigh Ann recommends doing a rough peel, leaving some skin on for extra fiber.) Rough chop the apples and add to a saucepan with the water and the cinnamon. Simmer the apples for 15-20 minutes or until apples are tender.  Add more water as the apples simmer if needed. Add cooked cinnamon apples to a food processor or a high powered blender and process until smooth. Pour apples into baby food storage trays (or ice trays) and freeze for 3 weeks. Food will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Cinnamon+Apples-Baby+Food-+My+Diary+of+Us 2

Photo by Leigh Ann Chatagnier.

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