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Kansas City families struggle to afford diapers as diaper banks see uptick in demand

Happy Bottoms is helping more families than ever before as inflation impacts diaper prices
Posted at 7:01 AM, Mar 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-23 05:59:24-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo — A diaper bank in Kansas City is in need of donations as demand for their services continues to increase due to inflation.

Happy Bottoms is a nonprofit based in KC that distributes diapers to families in need by partnering with multiple agencies and hospitals. The organization estimates the price of diapers has increased by nearly 20% since the start of the pandemic.

"We're serving about a thousand more children per month compared to last January and February and we have been giving agencies about 70% more diapers in January and 50% more in February," said Ashley Allison, marketing and communications manager at Happy Bottoms.

Diapers aren't covered by federal assistance programs, and in Missouri diapers and feminine products are taxed at 4.225%, making it difficult for some families to be able to afford them. Happy Bottoms recently put out a survey asking families in Kansas City what they are doing if they can't afford diapers, and some families expressed having to use t-shirts or towels as back-ups.

"Families are having to pay out of pocket and that means that they're usually making decisions between whether to pay their utility bill or whether to buy diapers and that's just not a decision that any family should have to make," Allison said.

On Tuesday, a Missouri House committee will hold a hearing on a bill aiming at removing the 4.225% sales tax on diapers and feminine products; similar bills have been introduced in previous sessions but have failed.

"I think anybody can agree that diapers are not a luxury," Allison said. "They're a basic necessity that babies need in order to stay clean, dry and healthy, so we just want to advocate for families and make sure that they get all the relief that they need."

Happy Bottoms is aiming at collecting 300,000 diapers by April 14. People can make a donation online or by dropping diapers off at their warehouse located in the Waldo neighborhood.