Student runs business for low-income military families

April 15, 2013

Alexander Nedd
anedd2@uccs.edu

3,000. That’s the average number of disposable diapers a baby will use per year. Factor in cost, and you’re well into more than $1,000 put into the trash destined for landfills.

60. That is the number of handmade diapers given to families in their starter sets from Battle Bumms, a nonprofit organization and business that allows cloth diapers to be donated to low-income military families. To date, it has donated two starter sets to families in the Colorado Springs community.

The 60 cloth diapers made of chemical-free fabric translate to just over $250 but offer a reusable value that’s better for parents, their little ones and their budgets.

Victoria Emry, a senior strategic and organizational communication student on track to graduate in December, got the idea for the business while tending to her son Jasper.

“I began cloth diapering my son when he was about 4 months old,” Emry said. “We used disposable diapers, which cost us $500 to get started, and [my husband and I] began thinking that there was a cheaper way of doing this.”

Emry said that the idea developed into a business.

“I was pretty crafty and got to thinking … we can make these at a lower cost and provide them to military families,” she said.

Still working out the logistics of making their business bigger, the couple has worked to get members of the community to donate cloth diapers. For now, their business has grown to include more diapers than families.

“We started with a Facebook page in September, and pretty quickly we had 60 followers from all over the country,” Emry said.

People switch to cloth for many reasons, Emry noted. “It saves money. There is an upfront cost, but in the long run you will save.”

Families have already tried and loved their starter kits from Battle Bumms, Emry said, and the diapers are more environmental.

“You can use these for multiple children,” Emry said. “It can take up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose.”

When asked why clothing diapers aren’t as popular, Emry explained the hurdles of changing the public’s attitude.

“There is obviously a convenience factor,” she said. “Technically, with disposables you are supposed to clean out the diaper before you dump it in the trash. Landfills are not supposed to have that human waste. It’s really not that different than using cloth diapers.”

Battle Bumms will be the beneficiary of a sponsored event April 20 at the Chapel Hills Mall titled “The Great Cloth Diaper Change.”

The event seeks to break the previous year’s Guinness World record of number of babies being changed into cloth diapers at one time.

“Denver beat out Colorado Springs last year, but we’re hoping to be bigger than them next year,” Emry said.

The event will feature raffle tickets and giveaways geared toward new families, as well as games like the Diaper Derby, where parents coax their children to cross the finish line in a variety of humorous ways.

The event is free, but people are encouraged to register. Those interested can register at gcdc2013cs.eventbrite.com.

Emry hopes to expand the nonprofit business, but in the meantime she helps teach classes for those who want to learn more about the benefits of cloth diapering.

“I do one-on-one teaching for anyone who is interested, completely free,” she said.

Battle Bumms is always accepting donations, and people can learn more or help donate and buy cloth diapers by visiting facebook.com/battlebumms or emailing victoria@battlebumms.com.

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