AUSTIN (KXAN) — Desiree Rodriguez can’t imagine going without diapers.
“It is scary at times. It almost feels the same as when you you get the news, ‘OK, what am I going to do for formula or food for the evening,'” said the 29-year-old mother of four.
Desiree gets food and diapers from the Round Rock Area Serving Center food pantry. The organization gets its diapers from the Austin Diaper Bank, which is struggling right now to deliver diapers to partner organizations in Central Texas.
To be clear, there is no shortage of diapers at the diaper bank. There are more than a quarter million child diapers, adult diapers and wipes in its main storage space. There are another 300,000 or so at a separate donated storage space.
The problem is the diaper bank spent so much money delivering diapers to Hurricane Harvey’s affected areas, now there isn’t enough to pay drivers and rent trucks to deliver to all their partner organizations in the Austin area.
“Not everybody can go to bed at night knowing that they have diapers for tomorrow morning, which is an awful place to be,” said the diaper bank’s executive director Holly McDaniel.
She says that is the reality for some Austin families even if the diaper bank had enough resources to serve the 5,000 to 7,000 families they help each year.
“The biggest challenge that we’re facing is having enough staff to make sure that we’re here every day — that that’s happening everyday,” McDaniel said.
That, and making sure families like Desiree’s have the diapers they need every day.
“It’s definitely a necessity as much as eating, as much as feeding, as much as school and education — that’s how these diapers are to these little ones,” Rodriguez said.
The diaper bank doesn’t let families pick up diapers directly from their warehouse because they don’t have enough people to manage that kind of service. McDaniel says they would like to offer that service someday, but it’s not feasible right now. As for why the organizations they provide diapers don’t pick up the diapers themselves, she said they are mostly smaller and don’t have the resources to rent a truck.
The major need is money and the diaper bank is hosting a fundraiser at Pinthouse Pizza on Burnet Road Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
They’re hoping to raise $75,000 dollars to pay for deliveries, add another staff member and move into a larger warehouse.