Diapers. A daily part of any mother's life and, recently, a topic that has weighed on the president's mind. In honor of Mother's Day, President Barack Obama wants to tackle the "diaper divide." In a blog post on Medium, the president stressed the importance of making diapers, one of baby's most fundamental needs, more affordable and accessible for low-income families.
"I can't imagine what it would have been like to be a parent that has to choose between diapers and other basic expenses," Obama wrote, citing the important role diapers play in not only ensuring a child's health and safety but in mothers' mental wellness. "Research has shown that mothers who are unable to afford diapers for their babies are more likely to suffer from maternal depression and mental health issues."
To bridge the diaper divide, Obama has worked with the White House to establish the Community Diaper Program, a partnership between an e-commerce company, a diaper manufacturer, and hundreds of local non-profits. According to the president, a total of 740 non-profit locations have been accepted into the program in an effort to expand low-income families' access to free diapers.
"No mother or father should have to worry about keeping their baby clean and healthy because they can't afford diapers," the president wrote. "America's parents — and children — deserve better."
Additionally, over 3 million diapers were reportedly donated by businesses to diaper banks in March alone after the president spoke at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Another million diapers were donated in the weeks leading up to the Mother's Day holiday. Even the White House held its own diaper donation drive.
There's another message to be reaped from Obama's diaper update — the power of reaching across the aisle and working together. "Whether a Republican or Democrat, in the private sector or in public service, we all have a role to play in keeping our families and communities strong," the president wrote. "It's inspiring, but not at all surprising, to see everyday Americans mobilize their communities to help families who are in need."
Although diapers may not be one of the more headline-grabbing issues, the president has remained determined to address what the White House called the "diaper disparity" since he first laid out his initiative in March. The president also allocated $10 million in his 2017 Fiscal Year budget to finding effective and reliable methods of expanding access to affordable diapers. Dealing with diapers can be messy, but the president appears more than willing to get his hands dirty.