National data consistently shows that those most vulnerable to poverty are women, children and families headed by single women. Mothers living in poverty with young children are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety and parental stress arising from material hardship. 

One such area of material hardship is the need for diapers, an area that has received little attention. One in three families in the US struggle to provide enough diapers to keep their baby or toddler clean, dry and healthy, giving rise to maternal feelings of guilt, anxiety, frustration and inadequacy. Failure to provide adequate diaper changes has also been linked to urinary tract infections and diaper dermatitis in young children which can further exacerbate financial burden and stress. Unlike food, several states do not include diapers as an allowable expense through government funded anti-poverty programs. 

The Sri Sathya Sai Baba (SSSB) Group of Greater Phoenix has been partnering with Cultural Cup Food Bank (CCFB), which serves individuals with specific dietary needs that may be driven by religious or health related factors. The CCFB started as a food bank, but has expanded their inventory to include things like gifts for children during Eid, formula and diapers for infants and adult incontinence products.

The SSSB Group of Phoenix is in regular contact with CCFB which allows them to learn of the CCFB’s needs and plan appropriate collection drives. This time, it was size 3-6 diapers and adult incontinence briefs. Adult incontinence also impacts mental health and self-confidence of an individual and overall quality of life. 

The SSSB Group of Phoenix set out on researching different brands of children’s diapers and adult incontinence briefs to ensure quality was not compromised for the sake of cost. Sri Sathya Sai Baba teaches that we should only provide that which we ourselves would use. Group members bought individual items at their convenience and within their financial means and met at the CCFB for the drop off. 

Gratitude and appreciation radiated from the faces and words of the director and staff. Seeing their joy at being able to improve the health and well-being of their clients across the entire spectrum of ages - from infants to elders - was priceless. Supporting this project helped broaden members’ understanding of the impact of economic hardship on all aspects of need – not merely food, shelter, and health but also hygiene and self-confidence. It also made us realize how we can help fill the gap that government anti-poverty efforts may leave behind.

Credit for photos

*1. Free image by William Fortunato from

*2. Free image by RODNAE Productions from

*3. Free image by Katie Smith from