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.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

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Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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