Coastal Georgia’s only diaper bank provides supplies and hope
WHEN KATIE GRIFFITH gave birth to her daughter, she became aware of something that only parents and caregivers are truly keyed into: the cost of diapers, and just how rapidly babies and toddlers go through them.
According to data from the National Diaper Bank, the average cost of diapers for one baby is $92 per month. One in three families in the United States cannot afford diapers, and there are no federal assistance programs that help with the cost.
Griffith wanted to do something to help this situation, known as diaper need. She and her husband looked up organizations that provide diapers to those in need and made donations. “But when I looked to volunteer and do something here in Savannah,” Griffith recalls, “I didn’t find anything.” Griffith says she “chewed on it” for a couple years and kept waiting for someone to start a program. They never did. “Finally, I was like, let,s do it! I just felt like it was a calling.”
The seed for Over the Moon, the diaper and period hygiene bank founded by Griffith, was planted. She shared the idea with her friends, and they were excited to help. The work of gathering donations and support began, with an ongoing mission to bring awareness of basic health and hygiene needs, diaper lack and period poverty. The name is multifaceted in its meaning — a nod to Johnny Mercer, the Moon River and even menstrual cycles coinciding with lunar cycles — but the bank’s guiding principle is simple: “We believe in dignity for all, no matter how big or small.”
First, though, Over the Moon needed a place to store donated supplies. Early on, Cyerra Britt, now a board member, reached out to Griffith to ask how she could contribute. It was kismet, because Britt already had a warehouse for her three-generation women-owned business, Gibson Good Tools, Inc. Today, in addition to her own company’s products, Britt’s warehouse is filled with 60,000 diapers and 40,000 pads (Christ Church Episcopal has also donated storage space). Acquiring storage was a vital step in Over the Moon’s ability to collect and distribute diapers to those who need it most.
“Diaper need means you have to cut back on other basic essentials so that you can afford to have diapers for your children,” Britt says. “And in Savannah, more than 22 percent of children who are under 6 years old live in poverty.”
“We want people to know that these issues exist. It’s a solvable problem, but we need everyone to pitch in.” — Katie Griffith
Over the Moon doesn’t stop at diapers. The organization distributes period packs, incontinence supplies and other hygiene-related items across the region through provider partner agencies, at community giveaway events and directly to families as needed. Their initial timing was perfect: the bank was able to begin distributing supplies just as the pandemic began and demand grew greater. But the need has only intensified, and there has been a huge increase in requests for diapers and period supplies across the country since the start of the pandemic.
The pandemic also lengthened the process of becoming an established nonprofit organization, but it’s official now, and Over the Moon has been able to join the National Diaper Bank Network and the Alliance for Period Supplies.
Still, it’s making a difference locally that’s most important to Griffith and Britt, who are working to provide supplies in Savannah (with the help of the local Junior League chapter) and in the Golden Isles. Over the Moon is the only organization of its kind in Coastal Georgia. “And you know,” Griffith says, “being on the coast, in the event of flooding or a hurricane, even the Red Cross doesn’t cover the need for these types of supplies.”
Education and advocacy are equally key. “Hygiene staples like period supplies are not only not covered by any government assistance programs, but also they’re actually taxed items in the state of Georgia,” Griffith explains. “We want people to know that these issues exist. It’s a solvable problem, but we need everyone to pitch in.”
To learn more or donate, visit otmdiaperbank.org.