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National Diaper Need Awareness Week highlights rising costs of an essential for families

Diaper banks helping those in need on Long Island
Diaper banks helping those in need on Long Island 02:08

SHIRLEY, N.Y. - This is National Diaper Need Awareness Week. 

Nonprofits and volunteers across our region are helping babies in need. 

Parents are telling us just how deep their struggle is. 

The Clarks of Shirley now have four mouths to feed, and more worries. 

"Being the sole provider of the family, I'm working 60-65 hour weeks just to make ends meet, you know, get diapers, get wipes," Robert Clark said. 

Diapers cost the Clarks $80 a month per child. Infants require about 10 changes a day. 

"Crazy. Everything is, like, overwhelming going in the store," Brook Clark said. 

Prices are rising as middle and lower class families are being squeezed. Government programs like WIC and SNAP can help with food, but not diapers. 

Long Island is in the midst of a diaper giveaway, from Roosevelt in Nassau County to Mastic in Suffolk County. 

"Moms calling in a panic, they have two diapers left and they have no finances," Debbie Loesch of Angels of Long Island said. 

Loesch saw a newborn in makeshift training pants. 

"Left in diapers for 24 hours or longer, they're left in soiled diapers, which causes rash, infections, and in severe cases, hospitalization," Allied Foundation Diaper Bank's Heather Edwards said. 

Community organizations are helping with nutrition and counseling. 

"The most tragic part for us is just seeing families really stressed, having the trauma sit on their shoulders of not knowing how to make ends meet," Choice For All Nassau County's Jacob Dixon 

"How to better budget when they are going to the grocery store, and how to make their benefits last longer," advocate Lavonia Scaggs said. 

"We recently started a research study to determine what affect does providing families with diapers, what affect would that have on things like their level of anxiety," Hofstra University public health professor Martine Hackett said. 

The Clarks are grateful the diaper bank is easing some anxiety, so far. 

"I'm trying to be there for my family as well. I'm not only trying to just work my life away. You've got to be a dad, too," Robert Clark said. 

At diaper banks this week, baby wipes and period supplies will also be offered. 

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