Cloth diaper loan program aims to save moms money, make environmental impact

WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- Disposable diapers or cloth diapers - it's something some moms and moms-to-be think about. A program in West Plains looks to educate and help moms if they choose to go with cloth diapers.

Around two dozen moms and moms-to-be attended a free cloth diaper class at the Howell County Health Department.

The Focus on Babies Diaper Resource Center-West Plains (DRC) is reinstating their cloth diaper loan program, thanks to donations from Jake's Diapers, a non-profit organization in Wisconsin.

"We've had cloth diapers in the past and we wanted to do the program again. We're trying to be more environmentally friendly and help families save money by using cloth diapers," Howell County Health Department's Dawn Hicks told KY3.

Jessica Hatcher led the class.

She used cloth diapers with all three of her children. She says she hopes cloth diapers start making a comeback because of the benefits, both environmentally and financially.

She believes the negative stigma around cloth diapers is what keeps many moms away.

"I think that's the problem; a lot of moms think it's going to be gross and they don't know where they're going to find the extra time to put all this extra effort into cleaning the diapers when really it's not that hard," Hatcher said.

Renee Ward is due in two weeks with her first child.

She says the pros outweigh the cons.

"The fact that they are reusable and we can re-use them kid after kid and they're very cost effective compared to disposable diapers," Ward added.

For her, the choice to use cloth diapers is mainly financial.

"If you use disposable diapers and wipes, you're spending between $2,500 and $3,000 per kid from birth to two when you potty-train. We have bought second-hand cloth diapers and wipes and I've even made cloth wipes. We are only about $130 in," Ward exclaimed.

The class touched on cloth diaper use, accessories, as well as washing and drying the diapers.

Each mom was given their own bag of donated items which included cloth diapers, covers, reusable wipes and a packet of helpful tips.

Moms shared ideas that Ward says will go even further in helping her learn to use cloth diapers.

"I learned how to wash, how to strip the cloth diapers, ointments to use, different ways you can cut cost by using different materials," Ward explained.

Now with the extra knowledge and tools to help her and her husband out, Ward feels she's ready to have her little boy.

"Prepared as we are going to be."

Here are the three agencies that provide diapers to people based upon income guidelines and other guidelines:

Tender Mercies Diaper Ministry at First Christian Church
422 West Main
West Plains, MO 65775
417-256-2887

Christos House, Inc.
P O Box 771
West Plains, MO 65775
417-256-3408

Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center
715 Missouri Ave.
West Plains, MO 65775
417-257-7792

Donations of disposable diapers can be dropped off at Ozark Action Inc. (OAI), 710 E. Main St., West Plains, MO 65775, who are providing the Diaper Resource Center with warehouse space for diapers. Diapers can be left at OAI, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, all year long. Fiscal management, allowing for financial contributions to be tax-deductible, is provided by Community Interagency Council.

Area churches, businesses, organizations, or individuals who wish to contribute toward addressing diaper need in our area may inquire at diaperresourcecenter@gmail.com, by phone to 417-257-7184, or by mail at P O Box 1773, West Plains, MO 65775. Presentations are available for groups on request. Check our Facebook page under Diaper-Resource-Center-West-Plains for updates.
Any Howell County group wishing to apply as a distributing agency should email or phone for an application.