Crying Over Cloth: Diaper Gifts Impact Furloughed Employees in Puerto Rico

When it comes to diaper changes, most commonly a baby might shed a tear or two – but in our situation, we see many adults crying, too.

With the government shutdowns in early 2019, our team at Jake’s Diapers organized efforts to help individuals impacted by the situation. We leveraged our partners in Puerto Rico to reach the people in need in that U.S. territory.

“A federal employee came and asked me about the cloth diapers,” said Lorraine, a Puerto Rico mom who helps distribute diapers for Jake’s. “It was a man and it is rare the (males) ask about the cloth diapers.”

The man showed Lorraine photos on his phone of his twin girls using cloth diapers in the United States. He had left those diapers behind with his sister to use for his nephews, but with the shutdown found himself in a difficult situation.

He started counting his money to afford a cloth diaper, but that’s when Lorraine was able to deliver the good news: Jake’s Diapers provides cloth diapers to families for free.

“Immediately, their nervousness for the price dissolved and started grinning in disbelief,” Lorraine said.

Next, a woman came from the line to talk to Lorraine. She sat embarrassed, staring at her hands. She started explaining, as Lorraine recalls:

I don’t know if you can help me and as a Federal employee we are considered to never have lack of anything because of our income, but is hard and more so since the shut down. My mom has Alzheimer and I have not been able to eat or sleep thinking of her diapers and everything.

“I showed her the cloth Diapers from Jake’s for special needs,” Lorraine said, “and asked her if she thought it would fit her mom. A single tear slipped and she nodded, ‘yes’ while her chin was trembling.”

Another in line, a brother and a sister seeking help for their older sister suffering with muscular dystrophy, among other disorders.

“They showed me a picture on a old phone of their bedridden sister,” Lorrain said. “The sight was adorable for you could see the care but at the same time hard, because you could see the pain and the years passed in there.”

They explained their sister had dropped sizes recently. Lorraine showed them different cloth options and began explaining the benefits of the reusable tools, while the pair sat in disbelief. Then, they had to ask – how much?

“I smiled and said, ‘It’s free, do you think they will fit?’ His stare went blank and his sister started blinking away the tears,” Lorraine said.

These tears mean we’re making a difference, and we’re thankful for all the donors who’ve supported our cause to make this possible.