Get answers to our most frequently asked questions about HappyBottoms and how Kansas City's diaper bank operates.
Where do you get your diapers?
Besides community hosted diaper drives and individual donations of unused diapers, HappyBottoms acquires its diapers via Huggies through partnerships with the National Diaper Bank Network. We also purchase diapers at a reduced rate through vendors like JSL Partners. HappyBottoms saves 60 to 80% off of the retail prices you would spend in a retail store.
How do you get your diapers to families in need?
HappyBottoms partners with 37 local social service agencies at 49 locations and 5 area hospitals to ensure that our diapers make it onto the bottoms of babies in greatest need. Our partners work directly with families to qualify babies to receive either 50 disposable diapers per month, or 30 training pants. For further support, families receive an educational brochure on proper diapering tips, stress reducing measures, and information on potty training. Early access to diapers helps raise families out of the cycle of poverty.
Do you provide cloth diapers?
Cloth diapers, while environmentally and economically friendly in the long term, require an initial investment of money and time that many low income families cannot afford. Over 70% of our parents live on less than $20,000 a year, so owning a washing machine isn't an option.
To use cloth diapers, a family must either hire a diaper service or have reliable access to laundry facilities. Soiled diapers are not allowed on public transportation which creates a barrier for parents trying to use a laundromat. As it is, roughly 75% of laundromats prohibit the washing of cloth diapers for sanitary reasons and the 25% who do, require parents to run a load of bleach afterwards, another cost that HappyBottoms parents cannot afford.
Why 50 diapers or 30 training pants?
HappyBottoms' philosophy is for our diapers to be a hand-up, not a hand-out. According to the Huggies Every Little Bottom study from 2010, for families in need, they're usually short 10 to 12 diapers every week. By providing 50 disposable diapers a month, we fill the diaper gap. Additionally, we leverage the hand-up to get families into agencies that can address other needs like clothing, food, job skills, education, financial assistance, etc. HappyBottoms is one piece of the poverty puzzle, a piece that can make or break a family’s budget as they try to break the poverty cycle.
If I donate, do you prefer I give you diapers or cash?
Through our diaper purchasing partnerships we are able to stretch your charity dollar further and get more diapers on more babies. At best, your dollar would purchase about 4 diapers; as a diaper bank, HappyBottoms can purchase 10 diapers per dollar.
How is it that no public assistance programs like food stamps, WIC, SNAP or Medicaid cover diapers?
We are just as baffled as you are! Our network of diaper banks across the country hope that one day this problem will be remedied! Want to help make change and raise awareness? Write or email your elected officials today!
How do you qualify for diapers?
There are three parts to qualifying to receive HappyBottoms diapers: your child's age, where you live, and your income level. HappyBottoms serves children under the age of four. Families must reside in Jackson, Clay, Platte, or Cass Counties in Missouri, or Wyandotte or Johnson Counties in Kansas. The family must show they are in financial need. This can be done two ways: by showing proof of participation in WIC, SNAP (food stamps), TANF, or Medicaid or by providing pay stubs for all employed household members.
I'm a foster parent. Can I get diapers for a baby in my care?
Children in foster care may qualify for the HappyBottoms program according to the same guidelines used for all families (see above). So if you live in the six county area served by HappyBottoms, you have a child in your care under that is under the age of four, and the child receives Medicaid or WIC, they qualify to receive HappyBottoms diapers. In our experience, all children in state custody receive Medicaid so they are usually able to get diapers.
What documentation do I need to sign up?
You will need three things to sign up to receive diaper assistance from HappyBottoms:
ID for yourself
ID for your child that contains their name and date of birth (for example Medicaid card, shot record, passport, birth certificate)
One item for proof of financial eligibility (for example, a paystub or other proof of income, Medicaid card, SNAP/EBT card, WIC Folder, state benefit papers, homelessness letter.)
Why do I have to go through an agency to get diapers?
HappyBottoms believes that diapers are just one piece of the puzzle in helping our families. By distributing diapers through select agencies, you are able to participate in other services offered by the agencies. It is our long-term goal that our families will be able to achieve self-sufficiency and we hope that the interaction with our partner agencies could play a role in that journey.
Can I get diapers from more than one agency?
Families are not allowed to receive diapers from multiple agencies in a month. If a family is intentionally trying to get more than their monthly limit of diapers or get diapers from multiple agencies, their child may be removed from the program. However, families can be transferred to a new agency should the family move, for example.
Can I get my diapers from a different agency?
You will need to notify your agency that you would like to transfer to a new agency. Basically, you just need to let your old and new agency know and they will take care of things. Your current agency will deactivate your account and the new agency will be able to reactivate your account.
How many and how often can I get diapers?
Babies are able to receive one set of diapers or pull-ups per month. Diapers are given in a set of 50 and pull-ups are given in a set of 30. If you have more than one child in the program, they each can receive their own set of diapers every month.
How long can my baby get diapers?
Babies can receive diapers or pull-ups until the earlier of the following:
Three years from the month the baby enrolled in HappyBottoms
The child's fourth birthday month
What is the Bundles of Joy program?
The Bundles of Joy program is a program geared towards getting HappyBottoms diapers to newborns in need. Diapers are distributed to qualifying moms at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Truman Hospital Hill, Children's Mercy Hospital, Liberty Hospital, and St. Luke's Hospital (all locations). Moms receive one set of diapers at the hospital and then are able to continue receiving diapers through any enrolling HappyBottoms agency. If you are interested in this program, please talk to your hospital social worker.
Do you provide diapers for special needs children?
At this time, HappyBottoms only provides diapers to children under the age of four. The diapers we provide are standard baby diapers or pull-ups in the normally offered sizes. So if you have a special kiddo under the age of four who needs help getting diapers or pull ups, we would love to help. If your child is older than four and needs diapers, we would suggest talking with your doctor about getting diapers covered through Medicaid.
Do you provide adult diapers?
No, HappyBottoms only provides baby diapers and pull-ups to children under the age of four. If you or a loved one is struggling to obtain adult diapers, we would suggest speaking with your doctor about getting diapers covered through Medicare or Medicaid.
Do you provide anything besides diapers?
No. The HappyBottoms mission is to provide diapers to low income families in Kansas City and raise awareness about diaper need, therefore we only distribute diapers.