DENVER (CBS4) – With her husband not working as many hours recently, Nancy Martinez is discovering it’s costly to put diapers on her 2-year-old son.

“It gets pretty expensive,” the mother of two said.

Her son Luis uses about six diapers a day, and at 39 cents each, that would cost Martinez roughly $2,100 over two and a half years.

One in three families in America — like the Martinezes — can’t afford diapers.

The Bottom Line Diaper Bank makes a major difference in the lives of low-income families. The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver created the program to meet a critical need in Colorado.

Every Wednesday, families gather at a home in east Denver. Parents bring their babies to collect clothing and blankets. But many make the trip for diapers. The greatest need is for larger diapers for toddlers in sizes 5 and 6.

Bottom Line Diaper Bank of Catholic Charities (credit: CBS)

Bottom Line Diaper Bank of Catholic Charities (credit: CBS)

Diapers are the No. 1 need at Gabriel House, a Catholic Charities program for pregnant women and mothers. Martinez drives every other week to Gabriel House for help.

She’s grateful for the assistance: “I’m not sure what we would be doing right now” if it weren’t for the donations.

A spokeswoman for Catholic Charities said some mothers become desperate.

“The worst thing I’ve seen is when moms try to reuse diapers. They’ll clean them up, put them back on, (and) the baby will get a terrible diaper rash,” Wendy Oldenbrooke said. “These moms who love their kids, they have no other choice. What do you do?”

Catholic Charities’ goal is to collect 100,000 diapers to fill the Diaper Bank.

“All of our diapers are donated, so we depend on the community to help these families,” Oldenbrooke said.

More than 1,000 families rely on the Gabriel House. There are four similar programs and two more planned.

LINK: Learn how to donate at ccdenver.org.

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