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Dale McIntosh says she was ‘just’ a mom who’d had her first baby, still in the fog of early parenthood. It was in the wee hours that she heard an interview with a Peel Children’s Aid Society worker about diaper need — when a parent is forced to cut down on basic necessities, such as food, in order to diaper their baby.

“At that time I couldn’t imagine that a baby would be left in a diaper for a long time, or have it cleaned out and put back on,” McIntosh said. “I was ‘uber change the baby,’ the minute I thought there was anything.”

McIntosh was so moved that she began collecting the diapers friends’ babies had outgrown, and made a trip out to Peel Children’s Aid with a first delivery. Workers there told her how much those diapers were needed, and that they’d be distributed to clients in hospitals, homes and shelters.

This further motived McIntosh. Word spread through email networks, eventually reaching Savannah Lockie, a Toronto mom on maternity leave from her position at the United Way. Lockie knew from her job how desperate the need was for free diapers in the city, and had been already collecting and distributing diapers through her own moms’ group. She and McIntosh decided to meet.

Dale McIntosh and Savannah Lockie


“We got together at Starbucks and decided to start the Diaper Bank.”

It’s still a grassroots organization — diapers are stored in Lockie’s attic, and both women volunteer when they have time between full-time work and full-time parenting. But over the years the Diaper Bank has expanded to a network with several drop-off locations and partner agencies. Lockie and McIntosh deliver the diapers to the partner agencies, through which any individuals in need can make a request.

The Diaper Bank has a charitable status number and is looking to expand its reach for cash donations — especially as the biggest need is for larger size diapers, which are donated less frequently.

“We chatted with the National Diaper Bank in the States for ideas, and they said you can only collect so many diapers to fill the need,” said McIntosh. “I think where we need to go next is in that fundraising component. We won’t give up the diaper collection, but we’ll have to broaden our ask.”

donated diapers


 Here’s how to help:

  • Donate diapers! Even loose ones that your kids have outgrown (and you find randomly in drawers) are accepted
  • Donate money! Because larger-size diapers are harder to come by, McIntosh says they need funds to buy them
  • Got a front porch? Volunteers are needed for collection drop-off locations
  • Got time? Volunteer to help sort diaper sizes or host your own diaper drive!
  • Want to start a diaper bank of your own? McIntosh is more than willing to talk with anyone who wants to start a similar project in their own community – there’s a lot of diaper need to go around.

The Diaper Bank of Toronto

Donate here + Find out more here

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