"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933-2020
Corfu -- The Cloth Option, a national cloth diaper bank, has expanded to Genesee County with a local advocate distributing diaper sets and collecting donations in person and working toward setting up donation sites throughout the county as well as providing cloth diapering classes.
Corfu resident Kim Long is tasked with diaper duties locally, by networking with others. At this time, there is no physical "diaper bank" site for the public to go to.
Long is one of about 60 cloth diaper advocates nationwide who are working to end diaper need through cloth diaper access.
The member-driven organization was founded in 2018 on principles of transparency, communication and social justice.
The Cloth Option is run entirely by volunteers and relies on generous donations from individuals and corporations to distribute cloth diapers to families in need and those interested in making the switch from disposable to cloth diapers.
The mission of the "kitchen table nonprofit," in part, is to help reduce landfill waste.
"Using cloth diapers has a huge impact on landfill waste," said Sadie Cora, one of seven board members for The Cloth Option, who spoke to The Batavian today from her home in Massachusetts. "One cloth diaper can be used at least 200 times, compared to a single-use disposable" wrapped in plastic -- thereby eliminating thousands of them from landfills -- for just one child.
In addition to reducing plastic pollution, advocates say there are many benefits to adding cloth diapers into your family's diapering routine. Whether used full or part time, cloth diapers can help your family save money and reduce diaper rashes.
Modern cloth diapers come in a wide variety of styles and feature breathable, water-resistant PUL, convenient fasteners, and a variety of natural and synthetic fabrics. There are even all-in-one options that go on in one easy step, making cloth diapers more accessible than ever.
Qualifying families receive a free starter set of cloth diapers that contain up to 20 cloth diaper changes, depending on the age of the child.
Each kit includes a mix of styles and brands, so that families can find what works best from them.
The Cloth Option also lends newborn diaper sets to both "new-to-cloth" families* and established cloth diaper families who may need that size. Our diaper distribution program is completely free to families, and has no income or citizenship requirements.**
Since no government programs exist to subsidize the cost of diapers, families are often faced with the choice to pay utilities, purchase food or buy diapers at an average cost of $80 per month for disposables. The $80 average increases when families are in poverty and do not have access to club memberships and big box stores.
Using cloth diapers can save a family more than $1,000 on diapers for one child, and even more when used on subsequent children. Studies show that access to a sufficient amount of diapers improves mental and physical health, and has the potential to assist in breaking the cycle of poverty for families.
Since January 2019, The Cloth Option has provided cloth diapers to more than 2,400 children, replacing at least 7.3 million disposable diapers.
To reach Genesee County's cloth diaper advocate Kim Long (pronouns: she/her/hers) email: [email protected]. Text her at: (716) 949-0127, or visit on Facebook.
*Editor's note: For more on the myths and realities of using cloth diapers, click here.
**However, proof of residency and of child are required for assistance.