SINGAPORE - A diaper bank was launched on Monday (Dec 11) to help needy families with the cost of infant care.
Over the next three years, a million diapers will be given out to more than 3,000 low-income families with babies up to two years old.
The families can collect the diapers from FairPrice Xtra @ JEM, FairPrice Xtra @ Jurong Point and Warehouse Club.
The scheme, called Huggies Singapore Diaper Bank @ South West, is organised by South West Community Development Council and Kimberly-Clark. Kimberly-Clark is donating $300,000 worth of Huggies diapers over three years.
At the launch of the diaper bank at Jurong Spring Community Club on Monday, South West District Mayor Low Yen Ling said: "For many needy families with young children, diapers can be a big strain on their day-to-day expenses. Sometimes, to save money, they may leave the diapers longer than they should - and this can cause rashes or urinary tract infection that adds to their financial worries.
"We hope this inaugural baby diaper bank will bring much-needed relief to these parents so that they can better focus on parenting and raising their children well."
The scheme will help people such as Madam Nor Aisha Mohamad Jupri, 37.
The housewife makes a trip to Johor Baru every weekend with her 70-year-old mother to stock up on diapers and milk powder for her three-month-old boy Mohamad Rayyan Naqeeb.
Madam Aisha lives with her parents, husband and six children in a three-room flat in Jurong West. Her husband is a logistics officer and the sole breadwinner.
Madam Aisha said it is hard raising the children on a household salary of $1,900 a month, especially with the rising cost of milk and diapers. Currently, she can use up to four packs of 80 diapers each a month. This costs her about $80 a month.
"Every time I buy something, I think 10 times before doing so," she said.
"That's why the scheme will save me a lot of time and money. I can divide my time more with my other children, sending them to school and playing with them and so on," she said.
At the event, Mr Achal Agarwal, Asia-Pacific president of Kimberly-Clark, cited a study in the United States where one in three families struggles to provide diapers for their babies, and three in four families experience economic hardship.
He said this resonates across economies worldwide, with mothers finding it difficult to purchase diapers.
The scheme's organisers said they will look into reactions and feedback from the families involved, and work with grassroots community leaders to assess the families' needs. The plan for now is to give each family six packs of diapers, though this depends on the number of babies in a family and feedback in the coming months.
Depending on the feedback and impact of the scheme, they may make plans for expansion out of south-west Singapore in future.