AUSTIN (KXAN) — From the start of the pandemic to now, we’ve gone from empty shelves to higher prices. This includes a rise in cost in the price of an essential item a lot of parents need: diapers.
Earlier this year, two of the largest diaper manufacturers announced they would raise prices to adjust for supply chain issues and inflation.
Kimberly-Clark, which makes Huggies brand diapers, and Procter & Gamble, known for making Pampers and Luvs brand diapers, both raised prices. Those at the Austin Diaper Bank said they’re seeing the impact of these higher prices. The diaper bank gives diapers to Central Texas families in need.
Before the price increase, they’d provide around 120,000 diapers each month to families. That’s now up to 150,000 and if prices continue to go up in the store they can expect that demand to do as well.
“We’re preparing for the increase in diaper cost now to kind of resonate with families for the remainder of the year and probably into 2022 as well,” explained Holly McDaniel, the Austin Diaper Bank’s executive director. “If you’re living on a fixed income or very little budget every month even that one little increase can really set your budget back and it takes months to recover from that.”
The Austin Diaper Bank works with several nonprofits and food pantries like the Round Rock Area Serving Center, a nonprofit that provides the community with food, financial assistance and diapers.
They are also seeing the same thing when it comes to diapers — a growing demand.
In 2019, they provided 2,700 families with diapers. That number dropped last year because of COVID-19. During the early days of the pandemic, they had to close the facility so they experienced a drop in distribution only giving around 1,100 families diapers in 2020. However, so far this year, after returning to normal hours, they have helped 1,000 families and they expect that number to only go up in the coming months.
“Diapers are like a gift of gold for our families,” Lori Scott, the executive director of the Round Rock Area Serving Center said. “When they need them and you’re stuck because it’s such an expensive item from the grocery budget.”
This month, the Austin Diaper Bank is hosting a baby wipe drive. McDaniel said their goal is 1,500 packs of baby wipes and they are around 300 packs short of that goal. She said they are also always looking for bigger-sized diapers such as sizes 4, 5 and 6. The bank also provides adult diapers and feminine hygiene products and McDaniel said they are always accepting those donations.