By Guest Blogger Kendra McCurdy, volunteer with Piedmont Diaper Bank

Life is full of choices. Coke or Pepsi? Ham or Turkey? Take the highway or take the back roads? Rent or buy my next home? Some only seem important right now, others will have a life-long effect. Some decisions are more difficult to make than others.

Food or diapers for my children?  That was the choice Renee M. of Winston-Salem had to make just a few years ago when both she and her husband were simultaneously out of work and struggling to find new jobs.

“I barely had enough money to put food on the table and clothes on my kids’ backs,” said Renee, who is a mother of two young boys.  “The one thing that I could not afford was diapers.” Renee was forced to potty-train her kids before they were ready, at ages 1 and 3. “It was miserable and embarrassing.  Day after day, I cried because my kids would use the bathroom on the floor and in their clothes. I was afraid to go out in public because I did not have anything to put under their clothes,” she said.

Renee was one of countless parents who can’t afford some of the basic childcare necessities. Diapers are an expensive burden on any budget, and for families living month to month; it often comes down choosing between food, rent or diapers. Diapers are not covered under WIC or food stamp programs. For Renee, there was no diaper bank when she needed it. Unfortunately, at that time the Piedmont Diaper Bank didn’t exist.

In 2010, Nicole Dupuis, a parent educator at a local health department, saw mothers just like Renee who couldn’t afford diapers.  After speaking with her friends Carrie Scott and Valerie Glass, she decided to make a change in her community and the three Triad moms started a diaper bank. In March 2011, the Piedmont Diaper Bank partnered with Newborns In Need, Inc. so their organization could grow and better impact the community.

Today the Piedmont Diaper Bank collects donations and organizes drives with countless local groups and businesses.  Volunteers collect, organize, and package for distribution diapers of all sizes and brands at their storage facility in downtown Winston-Salem.  Since it began, the Bank has provided over 99,000 diapers to 20 local agencies who have distributed them to families in need across the Piedmont.

Author Denis Waitley once said, “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”

Which will you choose?

The demand for diapers is growing along with the success of PDB — agencies contact the diaper bank every month asking for diapers.   There are tons of ways to help out, from organizing a diaper drive at your church, workplace or school, or volunteering at the storage house.  For more information, check out Piedmont Diaper Bank’s web page  or find them on Facebook.  The Piedmont Diaper Bank is a chapter of Newborns In Need, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit and donations are tax-deductible.