Thirsties Baby is excited to introduce our guest blogger this week, Sadie Cora, and the organization that Thirsties is proud to support <3
The Cloth Option (TCO) was founded in late 2018 by a group of cloth diaper advocates who wanted to work to increase access to cloth diapers, within a social justice-oriented organization. Our program is run 100% by volunteers who give their time because of their belief in our mission. Our organization operates as a collective, and each member-advocate has decision making power to vote on important decisions.
We launched our cloth diaper loan distribution program in January of 2019. Since that time, our organization has grown to over 65 volunteers in 31 states, and has provided cloth diapers to over 3,300 children. We estimate that we have replaced over 10 million disposable diapers.
Our mission: The mission of The Cloth Option is to advocate for and provide access to cloth diapers and other reusable hygiene products to reduce diaper need and protect our environment for future generations.
For us, this mission means working to raise awareness of cloth diapers as a sustainable option for diapering, and make sure that each family has access to the full range of diapering options. It also means that we work to overcome barriers of race, socioeconomic status, resources, and geography to make sure that every family who wants to try cloth is able to do so.
The social justice aspect of our organization means that we recognize the intersections of race, gender, and poverty; we work to create spaces that affirm and include those who have been excluded from the natural parenting community; and we work to build our own capacities as allies and learners working to tackle the challenging social issues that affect our society.
How we help families
TCO helps families make the switch to cloth diapers by providing an initial cloth diaper stash with enough diapers to last approximately one day. This allows families to get started with cloth without any upfront cost. Some families wash daily, and others use these cloth diapers as a supplement to a disposable diapering routine. The number of diapers we provide depends on the age of the child, but is roughly the number of diaper changes that would be needed per day (that’s between 10 and 20 diaper changes).
Studies by the National Diaper Bank Network have found that 1 in 3 families in the United States experiences diaper need. That means that even if diaper need doesn’t impact you personally, someone you know is likely struggling to afford the cost of diapering their child.
Anyone who is having trouble affording diapers and wants to try cloth should complete our quick online application at www.theclothoption.org/apply. If you have any questions or trouble with the application process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Once a family has received cloth diapers from TCO, our relationship doesn’t end there! We know that one of the most important factors that helps caregivers continue using cloth diapers is the support they receive. Our TCO volunteers stay in touch with recipient families, reaching out about once a month to check in, answer questions, and provide support. We also have a weekly drop in support session on Zoom every Wednesday from 12-1 EST. This session, run by our volunteers, is open to anyone with questions about cloth (not just TCO recipients). Check out our Facebook page for links and information about the weekly drop in sessions, and many other events!
How people can help
Get the word out!
The biggest thing our supporters can do to help TCO is help us get the word out about our program! We are always working to reach caregivers who may be experiencing diaper need, but aren’t aware of our program and the work that we do. You can share our social media posts, or print out literature to distribute in your community. Connect with your local volunteer to coordinate efforts.
Donating is another great way to help. Even small financial donations help a lot. A donation of $10 helps us ship one package, and each monetary donation helps us continue to send diapers to families at no cost to them. Donating is easy through our website or Facebook page.
We are often asked if we accept donations of cloth diapers, and the answer is absolutely YES! We rely on donations to continue our program, and we accept all styles, sizes, and conditions. If you have cloth diapers to donate, you can drop them off at any of our drop off locations throughout the United States (look up at www.theclothoption.org/network). If you don’t have a local drop off, you can contact our shipping coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a discounted shipping label to the closest volunteer. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, TCO recognizes all donations with a receipt for tax purposes.
Businesses who want to support our mission can partner in lots of different ways! Those with a physical location can host a drop off, collecting donations from their community which are then distributed by TCO advocates through our program. A sponsorship package is custom-designed for each partnering business so they can meet their giving goals while supporting TCO’s mission.
Rep TCO with swag
Twice a year we come out with a new t-shirt design that is available on t-shirts, sweatshirts, onesies, and tote bags. We do one design for Earth Day, and run a t-shirt contest in the summer with the design released for Diaper Need Awareness week in September. Every item sold raises funds to support our work! You can shop all of the available items in our Bonfire shop.
Become a TCO volunteer
Want to volunteer? We are always looking to grow our volunteer team! Volunteer tasks range from distributing TCO literature in your community; assisting a local TCO advocate with washing, sanitizing, or repairing donations; and building a TCO advocacy team in your community in order to collect and distribute cloth diapers.
For more information, or if you have a different idea about how you’d like to help support our cause, check out www.theclothoption.org.