SILVER SPRING, MD — Inside this warehouse, the shelves are packed full of anything a baby might need.
However, the most popular shelves may be the ones that are stocked with baby food.
"Baby food, as you know, is something that's essential for families,” said Rebecca Kolowe, director of operations at the Greater D.C. Diaper Bank.
The nonprofit organization helps other nonprofits in the region provide items to parents in need. Lately, it’s been tough for them to get baby food in the door.
"Our donations are down by a lot," Kolowe said. "So, all of a sudden, when it wasn't here, people started talking about the fact that they couldn't get it."
With their baby food donations down 37%, for the first time in the organization's history, it became necessary to hold a baby food drive.
"They're working-class families. A lot of them are working two and three jobs to make ends meet,” Kolowe said. “The cost of items is going up, and so, some people may find themselves in need where they didn't before."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, when comparing Nov. 2021 to Nov. 2022, the cost of baby food, in particular, is up sharply - rising nearly 11%. That is a higher rate than meat, poultry, and eggs – which are up 8% - and higher than fresh fruits and vegetables, which rose 7%.
"They've been requesting [baby food] a lot,” said Silvia Penate, with the Latin American Youth Center.
Penate said she sees the need first-hand among those the center helps.
"Prices have gone up,” she said. “So, we have been seeing also like a big increase in immigrant parents, young parents, coming in."
For Shaun Jackson, who helps manage what comes on and off the shelves at the diaper bank, it is one way to try and make a difference in babies' lives.
"As we receive donations, we put everything into inventory,” Jackson said. "It's hard for families to figure out whether they're going to purchase diapers, keep the electric on, keep the water on - whatever. This helps give some of that relief."
It is relief that is appreciated by Jennifer Flores, who says the Latin American Youth Center is trying to do its part as well.
"It feels very rewarding to know that we're able to help our families during such difficult times in today's economy," she said.
If you are interested in helping the Greater D.C. Diaper Bank's "Fall Fuel Up for Babies" Baby Food Drive, you can click here for their wishlist.