"It's the kids -- they don't deserve this." So says Craig Blankenhorn in "Young and Homeless" an Op-Ed in yesterday's New York Times of the 1.6 million homeless children in America.
I think he's right. As a social worker working with homeless families I began to think about the things that kids went without and I realized that I believe that every kid really does deserve diapers, toilet paper, soap, shampoo and other basic needs. I came to believe that these little things impacted the big things all kids need to have a fair chance at a decent life. The first picture in the Op-Ed I mentioned showed a young mom who could not get a job because she could not afford day care. Similarly, many moms who have access to free or subsidized day care can't send their kids because they can't afford diapers.
And these issues extend beyond homelessness. Almost half the children under 3 in America are low-income. Hard to believe.
Giving diapers out to thousands of families for the past eight years I have seen many people who definitely never thought they would have to count on the kindness of strangers, never thought they would be reaching out to their neighbors or their government... to anyone... to meet the basic needs of their child. I have come to the simple belief that everyone of us deserves a chance and we all should work together to be sure that everyone gets that chance.
September 10-17 is National Diaper Need Awareness Week. Please join us in thinking about children, what they need and how we each can help.