hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 17, 2013

Group helps low-income families by providing diapers

Parents of newborns and infants know all too well the cost of buying diapers for their babies.

So does a local organization that is lending a helping hand by collecting diapers for families in need.

Recently, the Breakfast Exchange Club of Greater Haverhill, its president-elect Celeste Begley and Treasurer Pam Perron helped collect a dozen packs of diapers for the Anchor of Hope Diaper Bank. The Haverhill-based organization provides diapers to partnering agencies that in turn distribute them to low income families they work with.

The Breakfast Exchange Club, which meets twice a month at the Haverhill Crossings housing complex, has supported the diaper drive for the past two years.The initiative is in line with the National Exchange Club’s project, which is the prevention of child abuse.

Claire Hailson of Haverhill founded Anchor of Hope Diaper Bank about a year ago, after learning about diaper needs through social workers at her job. She said a lack of diapers in families that are low income and living in conditions of poverty can lead to children’s health being affected due to rashes and urinary tract infections when they are left for long periods of time in wet and soiled diapers.

Fussy babies cause stress, anxiety and depression to their parents and caregivers, she said.

“Since diapers are a prerequisite for most day care enrollment, children cannot be enrolled with them,” she said. “And without child care, this means the mother can’t work.”

Hailson works full time in the local administrative offices of Thom Pentucket Area Early Intervention, an organization that serves children up to to age 3 who may have a developmental delay or may be at risk of having a delay.

“I learned that families cannot afford diapers and will ration one to two diapers a day to their children,” Hailson said, noting that disposable diapers for one child cost an average of $100 a month.

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