One mother helps thousands more with a common struggle: diapers

Corinne Cannon is the founder and executive director of D.C. Diaper Bank. She helps parents around the D.C. area everyday by offering a basic product that can cause a great deal of struggle. (Courtesy Corinne Cannon)

WASHINGTON — Capitol Hill resident Corinne Cannon discovered the true difficulties of parenting when she had her son in 2009.

Despite reading all the right books, starting a college fund and having the love and support of family, she and her husband were overjoyed, yet overwhelmed, with caring for an infant.

“I was blown away by how unprepared I felt to take care of a baby,” Cannon says.

Like most, she got the hang of things, and after enduring the first six or seven months, she started looking for ways to help other mothers who might need assistance.

“As I was struggling with this, I realized that other women were struggling with it too, and I thought about how difficult this would be if you didn’t have the resources you needed to care for a child — how much harder it would be if you didn’t know where that next diaper was going to come from, where that next meal was going to come from, or where you were sleeping in a week or two,” says Cannon, 35.

She began reaching out to organizations, asking them what they needed. She was prepared to volunteer her time, give money or do whatever she could to help other parents.

Over and over she heard one word: diapers.

Diapers are a necessity for all babies, yet they are not covered by food stamps or WIC — a realization that stunned Cannon.

Families in poverty sometimes keep a baby in one diaper all day, Cannon says. When a child is left in a diaper for too long, diaper rash can occur, which can cause a great deal of pain and sensitivity for a baby — and a great deal of heartache for parents.

“The idea of having a baby and having a baby cry because they’re in pain, or knowing in the back of your brain,

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