As a member of the National Diaper Bank Program, The Partnership for America’s Cuddle Me program helps families with young children get the essentials they need. This week we’ll share the story of one grateful mother and how Cuddle Me made a difference.
Two years ago, Leah Morgan, now 32, underwent open-heart surgery. Following the procedure, doctors told the home health aide and mother of two that she would not be able to return to work until she recuperated from the procedure. With a 7-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter still in diapers, the loss of her job strained Morgan’s family’s resources. Soon after, their financial distress increased when the children’s father lost one of his two jobs.
With all the couple’s available resources going toward food, rent, and utilities, there was nothing left for other essentials, such as diapers and wipes. That’s when Morgan turned to a Facebook group, Moms Helping Friends in Need, where she learned about the PFA’s Cuddle Me Diaper Bank.
“I emailed them and they got back to me right away,” Morgan said. “The people there were very helpful, very generous.” Within a couple weeks, Cuddle Me sent diapers and wipes to Morgan’s home in Brooklyn, NY. “They were very nice to me,” she said, “and I really appreciate that they ship everything so I don’t have to drive to New Jersey.”
Since her own financial crisis two years ago, Morgan said, “I’m seeing a lot of people going through hard times, a lot of homelessness in Brooklyn. Lots of storage units going up, people losing their apartments. Families with children living in train stations.”
Families aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch. Many programs, overwhelmed by the increased demand for their services, are struggling to fulfill requests for help. Since she began receiving assistance through Cuddle Me and other aid agencies, Morgan has seen changes in the application process. “When I first emailed them [Cuddle Me], there were no questions asked,” she said. Now, because so many more families need help, agencies must ask for information, such as a referral through WIC, a social worker, or a physician, to ensure those who need help the most urgently get the assistance they need.
“I hear people complain about how long it takes to get diapers, or that now they get only one package of wipes instead of two,” Morgan said. “I tell them to be patient and to plan ahead. Don’t wait until you have only two days of diapers left. Give them time. They are doing the best they can.”
Morgan has found ways to make the most of what she receives. For example, she uses washable cloth wipes at home and reserves the disposable wipes for use away from home. Morgan is also grateful for the Cuddle Me Facebook page as a resource for other childcare items and tips.
Now pursuing a college degree, Morgan said, “I hope one day that I can give back to them [Cuddle Me]. I will never forget what they did for me and that they had my back when I was in need.”