Those who know the plight of diaper costs understand just how expensive they are. A pack of them can cost over $25 a pop, if not more.

Families First of Minnesota understands how much families struggle to make ends meat. This is where Joelle Marturano comes into the picture. She’s an intern for Families First and took the Diaper Drive cause on with as much energy as an entire army. But these sorts of causes are not successful without the help of people and groups in our community too.

Did you know that diaper needs significantly affect families from the lowest-income quintile? Families with infants from the lowest-income quintile pay 14% of their income for diapers!!!! This adds up to about $936 a year. In addition, low income families do not have as much opportunity to buy diapers in bulk. As a result, low-income families spend twice as much on diapers compared to families who can afford buying diapers in bulk. Sadly, there are currently no government assistance programs that cover diaper costs (, 2016).


I had a mini-diaper drive and helped contribute diapers to this worthy cause. I connected with Joelle and asked her a few questions about it.

Joelle Marturano, TSM

Joelle Marturano
DT: Why was there a need to do this diaper drive?

The cost of diapers is high, and diapers are a necessity for healthy children and families. Government assistance programs do not cover diaper costs, which I was very surprised about when I discovered that! Crisis Nursery relies on community donations to be able to give out diapers to families.

DT: What’s your role at Families First and how did you get involved in this?

JM: I am a social work student at Winona State University-Rochester. I am doing my last semester practicum at Families First Crisis Nursery so I am an intern here for the semester. In the beginning of the semester I asked my supervisor if I would be able to take on a project of my own. I enjoy organizing events and I wanted to do something that would help families who are served at Crisis Nursery. I thought of doing a diaper drive since we give diapers out to families here.

DT: How many diapers (anything else?) were collected?

JM: The final count was 4,382 diapers, 22 packs of wipes, nine tubes of diaper cream, and 47 jars of baby food.

DT: What groups got involved?

JM: The first group to get involved with the drive was a group of students in the WE service club at ALC and their teacher Beth Rojas. They helped with putting together the collection boxes and decorating them. I asked Beth what WE service club is and she responded with this link and then said “Our school has been very involved in this movement since we were invited to our first MN WE Day Event six or so years ago. Our school participates in many of their campaigns throughout the school year such as WE are Hunger (Food Drive), WE are Silent (Standing up for those who do not have a voice), as well as many other causes or social justice issues. Our goal is to empower youth to make a difference in their own communities and in their world.”

Also, RCTC, Cardinal of Minnesota, and ALC were all involved from the get-go with being drop off sites for the drive. After hearing about the drive, two other sites reached out to me and wanted to be a part of the drive; the Workforce Center and Ability Building Center, plus you reached out to be a drop off site as well so I guess three!

DT: Any reactions from recipients yet? 

JM: We give diapers out to families who receive services here. Families come to us when they are in need and I do not believe we have given any out diapers since the drive. I do know that families are very grateful for this service.

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