An MLB star's scary experience with his newborn helped fuel an unexpected cause: diapers.

I went to this weird little warehouse in Chicago to interview a former baseball player. We talked about diapers.

There are a lot of questions I'd like to ask former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross: What was it like hitting a home run in the decisive Game 7 of the 2016 World Series? Can you tell me about the times you got called on to pitch during the 2015 season? Or what's harder: spring training or "Dancing With the Stars"?

None of that came up when I was given the opportunity to interview him at Cradles to Crayons in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. Instead, we talked about a problem that Ross, like many Americans, didn't know about until recently: diaper need.


Ross at the Cradles to Crayons event in Chicago on April 5, 2018. Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Huggies.

1 in 3 families with newborns struggle to afford diapers, and it takes a toll on their mental and physical health.

Millions of low-income families simply don't have the money to pay for the diapers they need to keep their babies happy, healthy, and clean. Unfortunately, there aren't any government assistance programs to help them out either because food stamps can't be used to pay for diapers. That can make babies and parents sick.

"In research that we did with Yale, what was fascinating was that diaper need was more highly correlated with maternal stress than any material deficit," National Diaper Bank Network CEO Joanne Goldblum tells me at the event. "Not being able to meet your child's basic needs is incredibly stressful."

Joanne Goldblum of the National Diaper Bank Network at Cradles to Crayons in Chicago on April 5, 2018. Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Huggies.

At its core, the diaper need problem is about poverty, and while there are about 250 diaper banks in the U.S., they need help.

At Cradles to Crayons, Ross appeared alongside representatives from Walgreens and Huggies to donate 250,000 diapers and $10,000 to the National Diaper Bank Network. Walgreens and Huggies will donate up to 1.5 million diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network — one day's worth for every package of Huggies purchased in-store through April 29.

"It actually gave me a little bit of a sick feeling in my stomach, and I felt like I had to jump on the opportunity to be able to help out," Ross says, explaining his shock when approached by Huggies and Walgreens for the promotion.

Ross meeting with families at Cradles to Crayons in Chicago on April 5, 2018. Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Huggies.

In 2015, Ross found himself in a vulnerable state when his wife was rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section.

For Ross, there is a personal component to the issue as well. In 2015, his wife, Hyla, gave birth to their daughter, Harper, two months premature. While both Hyla, a pediatric nurse by trade, and Harper are now perfectly healthy, the experience left Ross with a profound new appreciation for family as well as the kindness of others.

During those first few weeks, his Cubs teammates chipped in to send Ross and his family food and made check-in calls to the catcher. They helped take care of the little things that often go overlooked or can become mounting issues if ignored. It was a family-first approach to kindness, and Ross is paying it forward in this and his other charitable work. The families facing diaper needs are in a fragile place — something he knows a lot about.

Ross hitting a home run for the Cubs during the sixth inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

"My life was really good, and then all of a sudden, all that mattered to me was helping my child," he said, thinking back on that experience. "Perspective comes along really fast, so you give back when you can. And I was fortunate enough to be able to afford anything that would happen. That's not the case for 90% of people."

Luckily, you don't need to be a pro athlete to help fight diaper need. There's actually a lot you can do.

"A lot of people don't know this is an issue, and honestly that's part of the reason that I started doing this work," Goldblum says. "Because when we think about societal problems, we think about big things. We don't think about what it takes to get out of the house in the morning: diapers, deodorant, soap, shampoo. Nobody thinks about that stuff."

While reusable cloth diapers are a solution for some families, they're not an option for everyone, especially low-income families without access to a washing machine at home.

Volunteers from Walgreens and Huggies at Cradles to Crayons in Chicago. Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Huggies.

One of the most important things people can do is be vocal about this issue. Many people who are experiencing diaper needs may feel ashamed to speak out, making it that much more important for the rest of us to lend our voices to the cause. Social media is a great way to get the word out. Aside from that, people can host diaper drives, volunteer at their local diaper bank, or donate directly to the National Diaper Bank Network.

Together, we can help solve one of the bigger problems affecting our littlest people.

More

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
"Why is Dad So Mad"

Army veteran Seth Kastle had everything going for him when he came home from serving 16 years overseas. That's why it was so confusing to him when his life began to fall apart.

He had a job, a loving wife, family, and friends. He knew things would be different when he moved back to Kansas, but he didn't think they'd be that different. But he felt an extreme anger building up inside, a fire inside his chest that he couldn't explain or get rid of.

Kastle was unknowingly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event — like war.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
True
Verizon

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family

When Lily Evans set out to walk her dog, she had no idea the story of that walk would later go viral on the internet.

When she took to Twitter to recount her experience, she opened with a simple question, one that many men have probably wondered for a long time — though women already know the answer.

(Before you click through to the thread itself, note that Lily's Twitter account is expressly for adults and may be NSFW.)

Keep Reading Show less
More